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August 8, 2018

Facebook Messenger now includes AR games you can play with your friends

by John_A

If sending messages wasn’t already enough with Facebook Messenger, users can now challenge friends to multiplayer augmented reality games in video chat. With the new feature, currently rolling out, you can play with up to six people at a time from anywhere in the world.

To access the feature, you have to make sure you update your Messenger app to the latest version. Once you open the app and tap on an existing conversation, tap the video icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Then, tap the star button and select one of the AR games you would like to play. The person or group you’re video chatting with will then receive a notification that the game is starting.

For now, there are two games available to play called Don’t Smile and Asteroids Attack — both of which are pretty self-explanatory. With Don’t Smile, you get to test who can hold a serious face the longest. While playing Asteroids Attack, you can compete to see who can navigate their spaceship better.

More games are being rolled out within the coming weeks and months. One of which is called Beach Bump, where players get to pass a beach ball back and forth, and another is a matching cat game called Kitten Kraze.

The new feature is extremely similar to Snapchat’s Snappables — Lens-based games inside the Snapchat camera. Launched in April, users use facial expressions and other movements to control the game. For example, one game has players open their mouth and move around to catch falling eggs. Another is more interactive — allowing users to invite friends to a virtual dance party.

Facebook originally announced its plans to update its messaging platform at F8 2018 with new features and improvements to its digital assistant — Facebook M. One of the updates includes new ways for businesses to interact with customers through augmented reality.

When a customer chats with a business through Messenger, the business can prompt the customer to open their camera and see different filters and AR effects. For example, you can see how furniture looks in your home or also try on makeup looks before you purchase the products. It also keeps you from having to actually go into the store to check them out in person and might make you feel more confident about an online purchase.

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