Facebook Messenger update challenges WhatsApp and changes how you communicate with friends
Facebook Messenger added AR filters to its video call system last year – this allowed people to dress their faces up or alter them entirely, making for a much more humorous call with friends and family.
But now the tech giant is adding games to the chat client to be played during video calls.
Dubbed “Don’t Smile” and “Asteroids Attack”, both are determined to make speaking with those closest to you more engaging then ever.
“Don’t Smile” is a game that harnesses the front facing camera of each device using Facebook Messenger to identify when a user gets a grin on their face.
The aim of the game is to see who can keep a straight face for the longest.
The person that breaks first will be identified by the app – they will then have their faced altered using AR filters to exacerbate their smile.
“Asteroids Attack” will place a spaceship on the user’s nose and will force them to move around in an effort to dodge falling space rocks.
Users will compete with everyone else in the video call to see who can last the longest.
A laser can be unlocked that will cut through the oncoming asteroids with ease, although this will only last for a limited amount of time.
Introducing the new feature, Facebook Messenger’s Product Manager Nora Micheva said: “For the moments when we can’t be together in real life, Messenger video chat helps you connect in real-time with the people you care about most.
“Chatting face-to-face live makes all the difference when you have exciting news to share, you need a study buddy for a big test, or you simply want to pass the time together.
“Today we’re excited to make connecting with your friends in video chat even more fun – and competitive! – with multiplayer video chat AR games.
“You can play with up to six people at a time, making the gaming experience much more interactive and social.”
Users will need to have the latest version of Facebook Messenger to gain access to the new games.
Facebook appears determined to radically change how video calls work – the company is planning the release of two additional games “in the coming weeks and months”.
The tech giant owns both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but it appears keen to push users towards the latter for video calls with the most recent update.
Last month WhatsApp announced it was bringing video calls to the hugely-popular service.
The functionality allows up to four people to engage with each other at once.
In a blog post announcing the addition, the company said: “Over the last couple years, people have enjoyed making voice and video calls on WhatsApp.
“In fact, our users spend over 2 billion minutes on calls per day.
“We’re excited to announce that group calls for voice and video are coming to WhatsApp starting today.”