Facebook today announced the introduction of augmented reality games in group video chat with up to six people at once. AR games are available today and begin with two games: Don’t Smile, a competition to see who can keep a serious look on their face for the longest, and Asteroids Attack, a game where you pilot a spaceship with your facial movement.
Additional games will be introduced in the coming weeks and months, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat, including Beach Bump, a game for bouncing a beach ball between call participants, and Kitten Kraze, a matching game.
To start a Messenger AR video game, start a video chat, then tap the star button at the bottom of the screen to choose a game.
Messenger’s AR games competes with Snappables, AR group chat games for Snapchat. In this latest instance of Facebook copying Snapchat, it doesn’t seem like they’re trying to hide it much, since Asteroids Attack is strikingly similar to a space shooter game you play with your face that Snapchat rolled out in April for the launch of Snappables and group video chat.
Weeks before the introduction of Snappables, the startup Tribe pivoted from a group video chat offering to group video gameplay.
AR group video chat games appear to be the first major change to how you can play games on Facebook Messenger since the introduction of the Instant Games platform in May 2017.
Group video chat with up to four people was introduced in July for WhatsApp and in June for Instagram.
AR games for group video chat follow the launch of effects and filters for Messenger photos and video in 2016 and AR for Messenger bots so businesses like Nike can sell shoes or Sephora can let customers try out the latest shade of lipstick.