The multimedia app just launched Snappables, a new lens that lets users play augmented reality games. Set to come out this week, the lens reflects Snapchat’s first move into interactive gaming. Amidst a disastrous re-design and an ongoing battle with Instagram, this could be the lift the platform needs to get back in the social game.
This isn’t Snapchat’s first push into enhanced lenses. Prior to this, it rolled out a video-recording pair of spectacles that could only be bought from select vending machines. Although the company took a nearly $40 million writedown for excess inventory of its first spectacles, the future appears rosier for the gaming lenses.
However, Snapchat has often been overtaken by Instagram, most infamously with Stories. Even though Snapchat came up with the Stories format first, Instagram’s similar version quickly surpassed it in terms of brand adoption. Just 9% of brands in L2’s video insight report posted a Snapchat Story during the study period, compared to 41% on Instagram, making the latter the new standard for social sharing. Given this history, and the fact that Instagram already has AR face filters, it’s possible that Instagram could launch its own AR games. For Snapchat to really come back, the app will need a feature that can’t be imitated.