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Facebook's new invention: video chat meets gaming

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Facebook are bringing chat and gaming together in their latest initiative. The social media pioneers want to add a more authentic social aspect to online gaming and help bring people together. Could the move combat increasing attention on the negative aspects of social media, or even make social media a more positive aspect of people’s lives?

Nora Micheva, one of the brains behind the idea, had this to say about Facebook’s new take on gaming:

For the moments when we can't be together IRL, 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. 

It seems like Facebook are striving to go back to their roots as a social platform with the capacity to bring people together. Research into the negative effects of social media on people’s mental health has dragged sites like Facebook into disrepute of late. This might be the popular platform’s fightback.

Micheva told us more about the new gaming platform:

With this feature rolling out, you can start to challenge your friends around the world to two games: see who can hold a serious face the longest with “Don't Smile”, or see who can better navigate their spaceship with “Asteroids Attack”. We're rolling out more games in the coming weeks and months - including passing a beach ball back and forth with “Beach Bump” and a matching cat game with “Kitten Kraze” - so make sure to check back often! 

To try these out yourself, make sure you have the latest version of Messenger. Open an existing conversation or find the person or group of people you’d like to chat with and tap the video icon on the upper right corner of the screen. Then simply tap the star button and select one of the AR games - the person or group you are video chatting with will get a notification indicating it's time to get your game on.

People continue to discover video chat in Messenger, with over 17 billion video chats last year, twice as many as the year before. We hope this new experience will help you create fun memories with the people you care about most, even when you can't be together.

Watch this space for a new way to game

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