For anyone who has been asleep the last few days, Apple released iOS 10, the latest version of its operating system. iOS 10 is packed with new features, but it’s iOS10 iMessage features that have really piqued our interest. The most significant change to iMessage is that Apple has now opened the API’s up to third party developers amongst other things.
If you’re an indie game developer looking for new and innovative ways to engage your users then iMessage has a few tricks up its sleeve to help you extend your brand and generate some user engagement. Here’re a few things you can do with iMessage.
Everyone loves an animated sticker in their chat and iMessage now enables game developers to include free character stickers with their games. The good news is that if customers already have your game installed then you can add stickers with the next update and customers will be able to access them. I had Crossy Road on my phone and the stickers simply appeared within the iMessage options. We expect to see sticker packs appearing with a LOT more games as iMessage gains in popularity.
The new Message app store now has a section dedicated to games that can be played inside iMessage. This new section features a mix of standalone games such as GamePigeon which features a selection of two player games and Words with Friends which now allows you to play inside iMessage. The ability to play games inside iMessage is an intriguing prospect for indie game devs, and while the format obviously lends itself best to turn-based multiplayer games, it will be interesting to see if developers create interactive companion apps for their games to run inside iMessage. We’ve already seen companion apps such as Fallout Pip-Boy and GTA iFruit on the App Stores so it’s only a matter of time before we see creative ways for devs to use the iMessage capability to create new types of game extension.
High Score sharing
High score sharing is a nice little touch that we noticed in Crossy Road. Once you’ve finished a game, you can opt to share your score via iMessage. This is yet another nice way to enable customers to share their gaming experience with each other.
A dedicated iMessage app store
At the time of writing this blog, iMessage appears to have its own app store which can only be accessed via the message app and not from the main App Store. This is a captive audience. Apple will be looking for games and game-related items to feature on here so it is a good opportunity to try and get featured.
So there you have it – iMessage is only officially a day old but as a forum for game developers to extend their brand, it’s showing a lot of promise! Mail us or tweet us @biggamesmachine if you have any plans to use iMessage at all?