Facebook announced today that its AR Studio is now in open beta, so all developers can start creating World Effects for the company’s augmented reality platform and camera. The Facebook AR Studio is the company’s next way of targeting Snapchat via products that are essentially clones of features created by a company few see as being a real threat.
Facebook AR Studio advances to next stage
In a post to developers, Facebook noted that it released its Camera Effects Platform earlier this year in closed beta. The augmented reality platform enables developers to build for the Facebook camera. The Facebook AR Studio was launched in closed beta at the company’s annual F8 developers’ conference, and since then, more than 2,000 developers have created content for the AR platform. Developers have built animated frames, masks and interactive experiences for augmented reality.
Facebook has spent the last few months expanding the tools offered in the AR Studio. In conjunction with the expanded availability for developers, World Effects will also be enabled inside the Facebook AR Studio. Developers will be able to use it to create 3D digital objects that can be placed into images, both on surfaces and in ways that allow for interactions within physical space.
Facebook versus Snapchat
The announcement about AR Studio makes it quite clear that the company welcomes augmented reality content created by outside developers, something Snap has yet to do, TechCrunch notes. Snapchat does support some basic frames and works with a few artists, but it hasn’t built out a full developer platform.
World Effects are basically Facebook’s clone of Snap’s World Lenses, but one problem Snap has is a lack of resources versus what its much more established rival has. So while Snap has invested heavily in creating its own AR content, it hasn’t created a way for developers to create their own. If the company could convince other developers to build content for its platform, it might need to spend so much on developing its own.
What’s next for AR Studio?
Today’s announcement about AR Studio will mean more to developers than general Facebook users, even those who actually create or watch Stories on the social network. The biggest change will be gradual as more options become available for Stories creators. It seems that at least for now, AR Studio will be limited to Facebook, although many users of the platform probably don’t even realize what the company is doing with its camera feature as it ventures into augmented reality. It would make sense to eventually open the AR platform to Instagram, where the Stories feature has become more popular.
The Facebook AR Studio could be the first major step toward Sponsored World Effects, an idea that goes right along with Sponsored Posts and other content. Major brands would probably pay big bucks to have their own World Effects. This calls to mind Twitter’s custom emojis, which the company had said early last year were a success.