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Snap acquires British VR and gaming startup

Can a new partnership see Snapchat regain its following, amid its unfavoured update?

By CBR Staff Writer

Following its share slump, amid the Cambridge Analytica nightmare, Snap aims to better its share price partnering with a British Virtual Reality (VR) company.

The social media giant Snapchat’s parent company Snap has acquired British software start-up PlayCanvas, which develops technology that powers 3D gaming on mobile browsers and social media services.

Founded in 2011, PlayCanvas has built an open-sourced gaming engine that powers casual games on Facebook and on browsers. Using this technology the partnership will allow Snap to introduce casual gaming to Snapchat users, as well developers also being able to build and run virtual reality experiences from the browser.

The PlayCanvas Engine is based on HTML5 and WebGL, two standards which are widely seen as successors to Adobe’s Flash. Snap did not specify what it plans to do with PlayCanvas, the former is likely to introduce lightweight casual gaming to Snapchat and also allow third-party developers to create games for the Snapchat app.

Snap acquires British VR and gaming startup

The partnership aims to bring new gaming apps to Snapchat, improving entertainment and user numbers.

However, the social media company has faced criticism over the last few months following its update, which left users unhappy and suggesting they would stop using the app. Now, the new partnership aims to increase its user numbers once again.

Casual gaming giant King, as well as Disney and Nickelodeon have also adopted PlayCanvas’ technology, as well as vehicle manufacturer Polaris and engineering group Trelleborg also use PlayCanvas’ graphics engine to display 3D product renders. The PlayCanvas Engine is based on HTML5 and WebGL, two standards which are widely seen as successors to Adobe’s Flash.

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PlayCanvas is not the first early-stage European company acquired by Snap. In June 2017, Snap acquired French mapping service Zenly as well as the Swiss team behind Strong.Codes, which helps block copycats from replicating code.

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According to UK financial filings, the transfer of PlayCanvas shares to Snap was confirmed in May 2017 and Snap filed to trademark the PlayCanvas name in January 2018.  The partnership has been confirmed for an undisclosed amount.

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