If there’s ever a sign of our time being that of the sequel, the prequel, the next iteration that’s anticipated as soon as the current one is even released, it’s when someone asks the question, “When is the next version coming out?” Perusing the web, you’ll occasionally run into people asking, is Kik Messenger 2 coming soon?
The answer to that is a little bit more complicated than a yes or no question can field, but technically, the answer is very likely, no. However, there’s quite a lot to consider when making a claim like that. Most mobile applications (outside of games) don’t develop in as sequential of a manner as many people assume. This is complicated by the way that applications upgrade through different versions, as they’re patched and built upon with new features and improvements to help their users’ quality of life. Still, there’s a lot to explore on this issue. Too much to let, “No, now move along,” be the last word on the subject.
- As of March 8th, 2016, Kik’s most recent version release on iOS is 9.9.0. If we apply the question to the way that we often refer to sequels, then we’re currently living in the era of “Kik Messenger 9.” It doesn’t exactly sound right, does it?
Each time that a new feature is added to Kik Messenger, the application is likely to be moved to a different version number. This implies enough growth in the application to justify it, beyond simple security and quality of life patches. This isn’t a particularly new trend in the way that applications are upgraded; it’s been around for as long as developers have been designing, patching, and upgrading their various apps. For this reason, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a “Kik 2,” in the way that our title question implies.
However, we’re most certainly going to see some impressive growth within Kik’s currently existing features. We’re also going to see new features added if history is any sign to go by. Whether it’s through a signed agreement with another company (such as the one that brought the GIF Keyboard to Kik) or through innovation through Kik’s own developers, the app has too large of a user base to not “keep up with the times,” so to speak. Over 200 million people worldwide are currently registered on Kik Messenger, and millions of people use it on a daily basis.
Considering the enormity of that statistic, it’s hard to see Kik growing anywhere but up and out, expanding its feature set while modifying and sharpening those tools that already give it unique appeal amidst an ocean of chat applications on mobile devices that are already competing.
Interestingly, the question becomes more interesting if we forget about the idea of a proper “next successor” to Kik, and start thinking about the features that might be added to coming updates and innovations. Though it involves an awful lot of conjecture, there’s quite a lot of pressure for Kik to add features that currently exist in other applications that its wide market is using. Out of those millions of registered users, a majority of them are young people. Frequently, young mobile users are always striving to be on the cutting edge of contemporary technology. Knowing these things, we can start to draw some lines about how Kik Messenger might grow in the coming years.
What Features Can We Hope For, or Expect?”
It bears repeating that we’re entering a world of conjecture, based not on testimony from Kik’s developers but on context and knowledge of the demographic that’s currently using Kik. Young people like to move and communicate as quickly as they can, immersing themselves just as deeply in the digital world as the one they physically inhabit. For this reason, we can expect Kik to embrace the popular features that other applications are using to appeal to contemporary young people.
When Apple first released FaceTime for iOS, users on other devices and other messaging platforms began clamoring for video messaging to be made as convenient as FaceTime’s video calls. While Kik Messenger already supports video and image messaging, but it doesn’t yet have the tools to allow its users to make real-time video calls.
Will we see this feature in the near future? Potentially! FaceTime type video calling has already been integrated into a handful of other messaging applications, the most notable of which is Skype. Whether or not this feature will make a debut on Kik will depend upon how quickly mobile devices are able to integrate even more advanced technology, such as the looming excitement of the tech industry’s current darling–virtual reality.
After all, a new feature to the popular application would hardly impress if it was supplanted by something newer and greater only a short while later. Still, I would put my money on enhanced video messaging eventually making its way to Kik.
Kik Points: Expanded
This is another bit of conjecture that’s drawn from the particularly heavy supporting evidence. Currently in its beta form, the “Kik Points” digital currency is fairly limited in how users are able to spend it. A trip to the “Smiley Shop” in Kik’s built-in web browser (more on that, later!) will reveal the sole place that you’re currently able to purchase something with your stash of available points.
Since the Kik Points system is currently in beta, this isn’t much of a surprise. It’s a good test to see how users react to emoji and messaging graphics as a reward, and also to see what types of activities Kik users are willing to participate in to earn points in the first place. Currently, Kik-sponsored events and promoted chats are the only way to legitimately earn Kik Points, and they’re only available to each of us at certain periods of time. While some users have found ways to hack their way into acquiring more Kik Points, faster, this is a highly inadvisable activity and not at all what the Kik developers had in mind.
For my money? I’d expect to see Kik activities and sponsored chats in greater quantity, and in one of 2016’s updates, we’ll see the Kik Points system move out of beta and into the spotlight as a full feature. We might also see an expanded storefront for you to spend your Kik Points in though what shape that will take is anyone’s guess. Looking to the premium paid featured in other messaging apps might indicate some clue as to how this feature will develop.
More Kik Browser
I just became one with my browser software.- Bill Griffith
Short and sweet: we’ll definitely see one of Kik’s most appealing, unique aspects continue to be utilized in every way possible. Browser-based games, optimized websites, and predictably some content that will interface with the Kik Points system (apart from the Smiley Shop) are all things that I expect to see in future Kik updates. Additionally, while users can certainly link content from the browser into their messages, coming features will encourage you to do it even more.
Whatever ways that Kik chooses to expand their noteworthy browser, I very much expect to see it tied closely to the integration and expansion of the Kik Points system. Storefronts such as the Smiley Shop could be accompanied by more aesthetic options. Many Kik users actually hack the app itself in order to apply themes and colorful masks on top of the app’s base appearance. Consider how prolific this activity has become, I would be surprised if it wasn’t implemented in an official capacity through Kik’s browser.
Kik for Windows PCs and Macs
It’s hard to say whether the rise and development of Android emulators have hurt the prospects of Kik coming to these platforms or encouraged it. Either way, if you want to get technical, Kik is already on Windows PCs and Macs. All that users require in order to access it is an Android emulator so that you can emulate a legitimate Android environment on your computer. However, if enough users are clamoring for an actual version of Kik to run natively on these platforms, the developers may answer with a separate application or an in-browser chat application.
Though the current method of emulation does provide quite the seamless experience, the Kik’s features would flourish far better if emulation wasn’t required in order to run it.
It’s still highly unlikely that we’ll see anything akin to “Kik 2” in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t expect the application to evolve and grow in ways that cause it to change significantly. Compare the current state of social media and messaging apps that have been around for a decade to their previous versions, and you’ll be massively surprised by all that’s happened to them over the course of those years.
Though much of the above is purely speculative, there isn’t a shred of it that isn’t based on the considered context–what are Kik’s competitors doing and what demographics are using Kik right now? Even though the near future might not have us seeing the official “Kik 2,” we may very well see enough new features that it could be justified as such. Chime in through the comments below, and let us know what features you’d love to see in a future Kik update!