Snap Inc Acquires VR Startup PlayCanvas

Parent company of social media platform Snapchat may be playing with the idea of moving into the video games market.


Popular ephemeral social media platform Snapchat might have served as a slimmed-down introduction to augmented reality for many of its users, but parent company Snap Inc. seems to be looking beyond the scope of fancy photograph filters. Reports have surfaced that the company has recently acquired PlayCanvas, a British startup that specializes in web software development and virtual reality, in what could be considered a move toward the VR or video game market.

According to a report from, Snap Inc. paid an undisclosed sum for PlayCanvas, a company primarily known for its web-based engine that serves as the foundation for Facebook- and other browser-based games. The PlayCanvas engine is reportedly also capable of powering browser-based virtual reality experiences, though it's not immediately clear exactly what sort of experiences either company may be attempting to create, if any at all.

It's likely, though still unconfirmed, that Snap Inc. is attempting to move beyond the confines of the Snapchat social media platform. The company launched Lens Studio AR, a suite of development tools that allow PC users to place 3D models into still photographs, in December of last year. Another report from also states that Chinese conglomerate Tencent acquired a 12% stake in Snap Inc. back in November, a move that only seems to reaffirm the notion that Snap is eying the video game market.

Though the details surrounding Snap Inc.'s recent investments and acquisitions are fairly clear-cut, we don't have any real word on what the company may be cooking up. Still, as both AR and VR markets continue to grow, software developers will continue to come up with new and interesting ways of making use of the technology. As for what Snap in particular has in store for its fans, only time will tell.

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Kevin Tucker is a core component of Shacknews' powerful guide development team. For questions, concerns, tips, or to share constructive criticism, he can be reached on Twitter @dukeofgnar or through e-mail at

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