Facebook launched a new set of augmented reality (AR) games for its Messenger app which will allow users to challenge up to six friends via video chat.
The first games released include Don’t Smile, an AR take on the classic staring contest, and Asteroids Attack, in which players use their face to navigate a spaceship. Facebook said two additional games are on the way: ball passing challenge Beach Bump and a cat game called Kitten Craze.
Facebook’s rollout of AR games follows the debut of its AR Studio tool in April 2017, and comes on the heels of Snap’s introduction of AR gaming via its Snappable feature in April of this year.
The AR games are accessible through the filter menu on Messenger’s video chat feature, setting them apart from the 70-plus arcade-style titles found on the app’s Instant Games platform.
While games on the Instant Games platform include adverts, Facebook told TechCrunch there will initially be no ads, sponsorship or in-app purchases available in the AR video chat games. However, the opportunity could prove too lucrative to pass up in future, as Facebook noted video chat usage continues to grow.
It said users held over 17 billion video chat sessions in 2017, double the number of 2016.