Gaming apps with in-game chat are all the rage at the moment. People of all ages, forced indoors by a virus, are beating boredom playing games, and chatting with their friends. The real winners are the gaming apps that are raking in the moolah as the whole world is hanging out in virtual in-game ‘chat rooms’ playing Ludo King or Robolox and chatting with friends or other gamers. Little wonder then, that the gaming apps that became most popular were the ones that offered a combo of a thrilling game along with features of social networking apps (Houseparty, Ludo King, PubG, etc)
So, what’s up?
A lot! Early this year, the average weekly download figures of gaming-plus-chatting apps stood at a record 1.2 billion due to more people turning to gaming amid the pandemic. As the world has begun to think these virtual conversations are the new normal, gaming apps that include features such as built-in chats and sound effects, have struck gold. In fact, according to this survey, the lockdown period has seen an increase of over 115% in the usage of these gaming apps and a 100% spike in online gaming traffic.
And so, the gaming app industry is mushrooming, with every tech entrepreneur wanting to play this billion-dollar game. But before we move on to see what the gamers are hooked on to, let’s take a quick look at the type of gaming apps that are scoring high on their list.
Types of Apps with In-Game Chat
Gaming these days is about walking into a crowd and winning the stakes. It’s no longer about playing alone bettering your own previous score. The kick of any game is in in-game chat - shouting, screaming out your excitement at every move for others to hear. And so, features such as in-game text and voice chat are what’s driving the excitement of the online gaming world. It enables every player to compare scores and communicate with other gamers, and app-makers categorize them as:
- Chatting apps with built-in games
- Gaming apps with in-game chat
- Gaming community apps
1. Chatting Apps with In-Built Games
These are apps with video or voice chat functionality that also develop games on the side to allow friends within the group to play games with each other to kill boredom. Games such as Facebook Gaming and Houseparty became popular when people started looking for options to chill with friends and family even as they socially distanced themselves.
Houseparty is a face-to-face social video chat app, but with an array of built-in games. Users can play together as they chat right from their homes. This app went viral during the lockdown. A smarter reincarnation of the app previously known as Meerkat, it was acquired by Fortnite creator Epic Games in 2019. The new owners turned the app into a freemium business model with in-app purchases.
- It's free for users all over the world
- Offers in-app purchases
- Some games like Heads Up are free for the first three games, and after that, there’s a minimal charge ($0.99 per game).
This minimal revenue model brought in big revenues for Houseparty – it raked in $155,000 in March 2020 alone!
Can Mark Zuckerberg leave any tech that’s profitable alone? He was quick to jump on to this wagon during the lockdown and launched Facebook Gaming – a homegrown gaming platform in April 2020. What works in its favor is:
- Facebook’s amazing network and reach
- The app – designed exclusively for online gaming within Facebook’s networking set up
- Live-streaming access to users for their gaming content.
- The Go Live feature - users can upload live videos of other mobile games from their device
Facebook has adopted the same business strategy it went with for Instagram. So, at present, it’s a no-ads model, with Meta making money through the commissions when watchers send ‘stars’ to users streaming content.
2. Gaming Apps with In-Game Chat
Hardcore gamers swear by the games that support in-game chat functionality. These apps focus on giving the players an enhanced gaming experience and are high on graphics, but they also allow easy communication via voice, video, or text chat as add-ons. Games that fall into this category are most loved by the gaming community and these apps quickly climb the popularity charts worldwide. Games such as PubG, Fortnite, and Call of Duty fall under this category.
Ludo King (Voice Chat)
As of now, Ludo King is the undisputed leader in the gaming chat apps category. Created by the Indian gaming company, Gametion Technologies, it went viral globallly during the lockdown. Users worldwide acknowledge how the game, using a traditional Indian dice game, has kept users engaged with its embedded gamification.
Google Playstore ranks Ludo King as the No. 1 gaming chat app.
- It has been downloaded over 100 million times globally
- Revenue model: Advertisements, in-app purchases – with 50% of revenue coming from outside India. The company has said that their advertising and in-app purchase revenue is at 60-40 % currently.
- Ludo King initially had only a text chat option but now, video chatting is also available
Going by statistics, Garena’s Free Fire is the second most downloaded gaming app of 2019 after PUBG with over 250 million downloads. It raked in $90 million in just the first half of 2019 and has been adding $73 million approx. every quarter hence. Overall, new installs of Garena Free Fire grew 81% year on year. Free Fire is a survival shooter game exclusively for the mobile platform – technically, it’s just a different avatar of the banned PUBG. Players land on a remote island and pit their wits against 49 other players.
- It’s a freemium model, with two types of subscriptions: Weekly and monthly. The weekly one is to claim 60 diamonds every week, the monthly one allows immediate access to 100 diamonds and immediate access to an AK-gold coated tool for 30 days
- Free Fire's chat feature is the best out there – designed to foster a sense of community bonding. Players can also chat with other players they have added to their friends list in-game.
- Players can also top-up their in-game currency using the diamonds
- In-game currency can be used to buy skins, tools and enhance the visual experience
Fortnite (Voice & Video Chat)
Fortnite is a multi-gaming platform, just like how the now-banned PUBG was. Developed by Epic Games, it's an online video gaming platform available in three distinct gaming avatars: Save the World, a shooter-survival game for up to four players to fight off weird creatures with traps and forts; Battle Royale, where up to 100 players can fight to be the last person standing and; Creative – where gamers have all the freedom to create their own worlds and choose their battles.
Battle Royale won the game for the creators – for while all the others were also good on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, this one had the best optimization for the mobile platform. The best feature, according to players, is that its smart integration of social and gaming platforms.
- Battle Royale’s success meant over 125 million players downloading the game last year, making it a cult game of sorts.
- As per a report, the mobile version of Battle Royale broke the $1 billion revenue cap during the lockdown.
- It merges Houseparty’s chatting features with the online game progression – with the in-game video chat addition allowing players to see live feeds of their friends inside the game
Call of Duty (Voice Chat)
Adjudged the best voice chat app for gaming, Call of Duty is a free gaming app that hastily came in to fill the gap left by PUBG being banned. Created specifically for iOS and Android users, this has been the biggest mobile game release in the recent past. By June 2020, it had notched up over 250 million downloads, begetting the makers $327million in revenue. Its mobile-only exclusivity played to the advantage of the voice chat model of communication.
- It’s a freemium business model, supplemented by microtransactions called COD points – a premium in-game currency.
- It also has various levels of premium Battle Pass, just like Fortnite – 800 COD points, for instance, can get you a Battle Pass
- One can even buy loot passes with COD points
3. Gaming Community Apps
These are support apps – they allow users to communicate about the gaming apps seamlessly. They integrate easily with gaming apps and also allow non-gamers to catch up on live-streamed games and other info – apps such as Discord and Twitch. [Related: How to Build a Discord Clone Chat App]
With this categorization done, let’s now go on to see which gaming apps with in-game chat are topping the charts in the market currently. Many factors play a role here – the type of the app, the revenue model, players’ preference, the engagement tactics, game data access, and more! So, here we go!
The best in this category. Twitch is an app that allows players and others to livestream gaming content on Android devices. The app, which rose to fame with fanatic gamers and gaming fans alike, offers a good combination of technology with an easy user interface. One survey pegged Twitch’s 2019 revenue at $1.54 billion. But statistics also show that it’s grossly over-subscribed, with regular users only mapping 63% of usage time.
- A revenue model is simple – the basic free membership that gives users access to an array of content, chat, and broadcast gameplay brings in the subscribers
- Subscribed users can watch gamers play games of their choice and also live chat
- This app also allows users to broadcast gaming content and earn money
Video chat app Discord Nitro is a sort of one-stop solution for hardcore gamers. Voice, video, and text-enabled chats let players connect live as they play. It’s a free app with around 87 million users, spiraling towards the number one position in the $1.7 billion voice chat app market.
- The paid version will allow users access to add-ons like custom emojis, HD screen shares, personalized avatars of emojis
- The major revenue stream for Discord remains its merchandise store – the makers are now valued at around $700 million.
[Read more: How Gamers are Building Thriving Social Communities.]
The lockdown period has been a ‘game’ changer for the gaming industry. Disruptions have been the new normal, and easy accessibility of high-speed internet, boredom coupled with the need for staying in touch with friends and family has spawned the growth of mobile gaming apps that also allow players to get a sense of being among people. And this pattern will only see an upward movement if usage trends and download habits are indicative of the market.
Gaming and chatting have played a major part in helping the world tide over the coronavirus pandemic right through 2020. So, the market for these apps is getting bigger by the day. CometChat’s APIs and SDKs give every gaming app the ability to add text, voice, and video chat to their game within hours and improve user engagement. Get in touch with us to learn more or create a free account and give us a test drive today.