Facebook is more immersed in the development of internal games with the launch of its own version of Snapchat’s multiplayer augmented reality video chat games. Today, Facebook Messenger launches its first two AR video chat games that you can play with up to six people.
“Do not smile” is like a looks contest that detects if you smile, and then uses AR to contort your face in an exaggerated Joker smile while you give your opponent victory. The “Asteroid Attack” allows you to move your face to navigate in a spaceship, avoiding the rocks and catching the laser beam enhancers. Soon, Facebook also plans to launch “Beach Bump” to pass an AR ball back and forth, and a cat pairing game “Kitten Craze”. To play the games, start a video chat, press the star button to open the filter menu and then select one of the games. You can capture and share screenshots in your conversation thread while you play.
Games are effectively a way to pass the time while you chat with video, instead of doing it on your own. They could be a success with parents and grandparents who are far away and want to spend time with a child … who is not exactly the best conversationalist.
Facebook tells me that it built these games using the AR Studio tool released last year to allow developers to create their own AR-face filters. When asked if game development would be available to everyone through AR studio, a spokesperson told me, “Not today, but we have seen successful short session AR games developed by the creator community and we are always looking for ways to deliver what AR content to the FB family of applications “.
For now, there will be no ads, sponsored brand or in-app purchases in Messenger video chat games. But all offer opportunities for Facebook and, potentially, external developers to earn money. Facebook could easily show an interstitial ad between game rounds, allow brands to build games to promote movie launches or product launches or allow you to buy enhancers to defeat your friends or update your appearance in the game aesthetically.
The games seem less polished than the launch titles of Snapchat’s Snappables game platform, which was launched in April. Snapchat focused on capturing the entire screen with augmented reality, transporting you to space or a disco ballroom. Facebook games simply overlay some graphics in the world around you. But Facebook games are more designed for multiplayer split screen mode. According to reports, Snapchat is building its own third-party game development platform, but it seems that Facebook wanted to take advantage of it.
AR video chat games live separately from the Messenger Instant Games platform that the company launched last year. These include arcade classics and new titles for mobile devices that users can play alone and challenge their friends for the highest scores. Facebook now allows Instant Games developers to monetize with in-app purchases and ads, presaging what AR-video chat games might be.
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