With the opening round of Wimbledon, one of professional tennis's four major tournaments, beginning on Monday, Snapchat is serving up an augmented reality tennis mini-game.
The game challenges worldwide users and their 3D Bitmoji avatars to take on the digital doppelganger of superstar Serena Williams, who forms Snapchat's first celebrity partnership for an interactive 3D Bitmoji Lens.
(1) Snapchat's interactive 3D Bitmoji gives new meaning to the term "table tennis", (2) My avatar celebrates pretty hard for just a three-star score.Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality
"Starting today, everyone can play tennis against Serena Williams...on Snapchat," tweeted John Brennan, head of global sports partnerships at Snap, Inc. "Tap on the front-facing camera to activate an interactive 3D Bitmoji Lens and see how many points you can score against the GOAT."
Access to the experience requires users to link their Bitmoji account with Snapchat. With the virtual court and players set, users can then press the "PLAY" button to begin. As Williams serves the ball, users can move their cartoon likeness to the spot on the court where the ball is traveling, and their avatar will swing at the ball accordingly. Players can earn up to four stars with continued volleys, with the speed increasing with each level.
Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality, Seb Sanford/Twitter
In recent months, Snapchat has taken several opportunities to inject AR into major sporting events, from Super Bowl LII to the FIFA World Cup 2018, and others in between. Likewise, 3D Bitmoji has become Snapchat's go-to canvas for engaging sports fans with AR experiences.
The inclusion of this latest kind AR interactivity adds another level of user engagement to the platform. With the MLB All-Star game right around the corner, I've got my fingers crossed for an AR home run derby experience.