Kik Interactive, Inc.’s messaging application is no longer the small startup it once was. Since its initial release on October 19, 2010, the app has grown very quickly. Kik Messenger had over one million registered users in only 15 days, and this number rose substantially through 2012. By April of that year, the app had surpassed ten million users, hitting 30 million by November 29 of that year, and finally surpassing 50 million by April of this year.
Now Kik has reached a whole new milestone, one that sees it even moving past BlackBerry Messenger, which will be headed cross-platform soon. This new milestone puts Kik at 80 million users worldwide (81.1 million to be exact) who send roughly 4.5 billion messages weekly. BBM by comparison has 60 million users.
“Within mobile, I think it shows that messaging is really the killer app,” Kik CEO Ted Livingston said in an interview with the Financial Post.
“Similar to what search was for the web era, and similar to what spreadsheets were for the PC era. It’s a communication device and we rarely talk on the phone any more, we just text. And this is texting for free, but better.”
Livingston said that BBM could have been the go-to messaging app from the beginning had it gone cross-platform sooner rather than make the attempt now, especially in the face of so much competition. Without a bit of luck, it’s possible BBM won’t be able to catch up at this point, and could face an even more difficult uphill battle in light of the company’s recent ailing condition.
Of course, with technology moving so fast and the evolution of messaging apps moving so much faster, it’s impossible to say who’s the real victor at this point. Many apps such as WeChat and Tango have gone to gaming to add extra value for users. Kik has its own WebKit supported Cards system that adds games and extra functionality to the app. Kik also has drawn the interest of some third party developers such as K*Tok. As time goes on, we’ll likely see the competition in the messaging based gaming arena heat up even further.
Thankfully, this competition will benefit consumers all around as we are able to find a lot more variety in each app, and this will likely be useful in light of the fact that many of us use multiple messaging and VoIP apps in our everyday lives. Bring on the future!