Facebook is hoping to leverage the power of the global developer community to help it create an augmented reality video platform that can compete and even beat out the alternative offered by staunch rival, Snapchat. To that end, it’s opening up the Facebook AR Studio and World Effects platforms to any and all developers, in the hopes that they’ll give it the edge.
Ever since Snapchat refused the buyout offer from Facebook back in 2013, the Zuckerberg-founded social network has tried its hardest to compete the younger alternative social platform out of the market. Along with introducing its own Shapchat-like filtering system last year, it also launched a cloned “Stories” feature in 2017. And now it’s doubling down on its assault on Snapchat’s use of augmented reality filters.
“We want artists, developers, brands, and more creators to be able to build and share amazing AR experiences,” Facebook director Ficus Kirkpatrick said. “By opening AR Studio to all creators, we’re taking steps toward making AR more a part of everyday life.”
Although the AR Studio has already been available to a select group of over 2,000 developers for a few months, Facebook has now made it available to anyone. You can create augmented reality effects within the studio which can then be applied to video within Messenger and on Facebook itself.
AR Studio is available now, with Facebook also set to open up its World Effects system, which allows more environmental effects, in the coming days.
As TechCrunch points out, this move is Facebook’s typical trump card. While its augmented reality effects haven’t really taken off with users in the way they have on other platforms — even Facebook’s own Instagram is more popular in that respect — the social network has over two billion users. With that kind of pool of potential developers, it hopes to simply drown the competition in sheer numbers.
Although it seems unlikely that Facebook will dominate with its new offerings in a manner that makes it the only popular augmented reality choice for those wishing to blend the real and virtual worlds, it could certainly become a bigger player in the emerging market with a move like this. The firm will need to receive developer support to make it happen, but as the largest social network, it stands the best chance of leveraging crowdsourced, user-generated content.
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