When Facebook acquired WhatsApp we finally saw the potential value of a robust and user-filled chat client. I myself started wondering what BlackBerry could do to boost the value of its own platform, and to start to generate even more revenue from BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) outside of sponsored channel content. Today, BlackBerry introduced one new way it will try to make money from BBM: sticker packs and the BBM Shop.
BlackBerry Messenger 2.1 is now available for BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices, and the update includes the ability to send stickers – or large emoticons – to your friends and family, inside of the chat user interface. Each sticker pack has between 20 and 25 stickers, the company said, and they’ll vary in price from free to $1.99.
The packs will be available through a new “BBM Shop” part of BlackBerry Messenger, where the company will likely add additional paid content in the future. There are several sticker packs already available, and BlackBerry says WWE will soon offer a WrestleMania pack for free. From that angle, you can see the company may prove attractive for branding and marketing efforts from outside firms while also generating income from users who are willing to pay for the sticker packs.
This is probably just the first step in turning BBM into a cash cow. The company has also expressed interest in bringing BlackBerry Messenger to the desktop, in creating a more secure version for the enterprise and expanding its mobile payment trials.
BlackBerry said that it recommends BlackBerry users run the official version of BlackBerry OS before updating, instead of a leaked update. Meanwhile, it’s also supported on devices running Android and iOS. The update should be rolling out sometime this afternoon.