Facebook adds quirky Messenger games to video chats

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Facebook introduces Messenger Kids

Fb’s newest additions to Messenger can have you dodging asteroids and making an attempt to maintain a straight face.

The corporate introduced Wednesday that it’s including two video games to its messaging app that characteristic Instagram-style augmented actuality instruments.

The transfer is a part of a larger effort to entice Messenger’s 1.three billion month-to-month customers to provide its video chat characteristic a attempt. Over 17 billion video chats occurred on the messaging app final 12 months, greater than twice the quantity recorded in 2016.

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The 2 video games, “Asteroids Assault” and “Do not Smile,” incorporate augmented actuality, which overlays digital objects like sun shades or flower crowns on the actual world — an idea popularized by Snapchat after which Instagram.

Fb (FB) customers can open or begin a video chat with a pal or group on Messenger and invite them to play by selecting the star icon and choosing a sport. You’ll be able to play with as many as six individuals, however getting everybody collectively could require some planning as a result of video games occur in actual time.

“Do not Smile” challenges customers to do precisely what the identify suggests: preserve a straight face for so long as attainable. When somebody cracks a smile, a filter distorts their facial features, and an animated solar pops up indicating who gained.

In “Asteroids Assault,” you progress your head backward and forward to navigate a spaceship and keep away from hitting obstacles. Extra video games, together with one the place you throw a digital seaside ball forwards and backwards amongst pals, are coming quickly.

messenger ar games
AR video games on Messenger.

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Along with messaging, video chatting and now video games, Messenger boasts a funds instrument that means that you can ship cash to pals, a characteristic that interprets messages in English or Spanish and the flexibility so as to add photographs or movies to a Story, which disappears after 24 hours. It additionally provides filters, which overlay issues like digital make-up, animal ears and hats in your head and face.

These options are all about growing engagement and grabbing extra market share within the messaging area. Though Fb already owns WhatsApp and Instagram, the corporate faces competitors from platforms equivalent to Snapchat (SNAP), China’s WeChat and Apple’s iMessage (AAPL).

“Fb is continually competing with new entrants,” mentioned Andrew Hogan, a senior analyst at analysis agency Forrester. “Its new options are designed to get and preserve consideration … and are about extra utility, extra leisure and extra time spent.”

However it’s too quickly to see if video chat video games will probably be a success for Messenger.

“I might envision one thing like this being profitable,” Hogan mentioned. “There’s plenty of consideration and time spent [in games].”

Though the novelty of video games can put on off, maybe Fb is content material placing time and sources behind it for now.

CNNMoney (New York) First printed August eight, 2018: 9:00 AM ET

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