Snapchat wants to redefine augmented reality because the platform’s latest Lenses aren’t just for altering your looks or your surroundings. On Wednesday, April 25, Snapchat launched Snappables, Lens-based games that serve as the platform’s first shared AR experience.
Snappables are AR games and experiences played inside the Snapchat camera where your face becomes the controller. For the game-like lenses, facial expressions and other movements will control the character in the game. One game, for example, invites players to open their mouth to move around the game space to catch falling eggs. Some games also use touch and other motions.
The second type of Snappable is less like a game and designed more as an interactive AR party. These Lenses, a Snapchat representative says, allows users to invite their friends to a virtual rock band or dance party.
Snapchat says that Snappables are designed as shared AR experiences — so while you could play some of those games solo, the games are really designed to be sent in a Snap to challenge friends. In these game-like Snappables, users can play, then send the Snap to a friend as a challenge to beat your top score.
While Snappables are designed as interactive games, the feature lives right alongside Snapchat’s other AR Lenses. With the update, the usual puppy dog masks and Lenses Snapchatters know and love will be to the right of the camera button. The new Snappables will be organized to the left of the button. The design keeps the games separate from the usual lenses, while simultaneously presenting them in a way that makes the Snappables easy for existing Snapchat users to find and play.
From the start, games will range from fighting aliens to playing basketball, but Snap says new Snappables will be released every week. The games are rolling out this week with an app update for both iOS and Android.
The AR games comes as Snap continues to push the platform as a camera, using AR to redefine what, exactly, that camera can do, including expanding custom Lens options. Earlier in 2018, the platform launched a Snap Maps geocaching game with a virtual Easter egg hunt.