Snapchat already did it three months ago with Snappables – a Augmented Reality social gaming feature. And now Facebook does the same with its Messenger app, an AR video game that can only be played with facial expressions while chatting. It is more of a challenging act that Facebook has done with its AR video chat game. Facebook announced this new feature on its newsroom on August 8, 2018. The goal is to make video chat more fun through this multiplayer game.
Right now, Facebook is rolling out the feature worldwide and there are two games at the moment; ‘Don’t Smile’ and ‘Asteroids Attack’. The former is a quest to hold a serious face as you can challenge one or multiple friends over video chat. The one who laughs is being booed with an AR that contorts your face into an exaggerated joker smile while awarding your opponent with a win. The latter is more like ‘navigating a spaceship’, where you have to maneuver your face through the onslaught of rocks and boulders while in a spaceship and holding laser beam power-ups. Facebook is ‘planning to roll out more AR games in the coming weeks and months’. This includes a passing “Beach Ball” game that plays back and forth; and a cat matching game called “Kitten Craze”.
To play these games make sure you have the latest version of Facebook Messenger. Then the next time you chat up with your buddies or do a group chat tap the video icon on the upper right corner of your screen. Once you are on video chat hit the star button which will open filters and the AR games will be right there to choose from.
Facebook collaborated with AR Studio tool which it built last year to allow developers create AR face filters. With over a 17 billion video chat recorded over Facebook over the last year AR video chat games is meant to communicate with people across the globe with more fun and joy.
Snapchat’s Snappables has more polished and immersive experience than Facebook’s AR video chat. While Snapchat’s AR overwhelms your device screen with an authentic AR environment that launched you into a more realistic experience; Facebook’s is more of multi layers of graphics that is designed to float on your screen. On Facebook Messenger the games are played on split screen. This AR video chatting feature is independent of Messenger Instant games that the company unleashed last year. The instant games include Arcade Classics and new mobile titles and allows in-app purchases and adds, which is yet to come to AR video game chat.
Facebook has mostly let outside developers lead its gaming portfolios on Messenger and has rarely designed its own games. But with AR video game chat the company perhaps is trying to develop a gaming platform and build the foundation for what will become very popular in coming days.
Currently with 1.3 billion users, Facebook is finding innovative ways to hook people into the app and make them spend more time with games and video chat in the app.