Social AR Gaming As The New Digital Trend

by Sonya Naboka on Dec 04, 2023

Virtual communication has evolved into digital entertainment trends, where augmented reality gaming and Social AR gaming platforms redefine the way people connect, enabling them to engage in immersive experiences and compete with friends without the need for expensive tech gear; all that’s required is a smartphone and a social media account. By harnessing the power of augmented reality, the real world transforms into a dynamic digital entertainment arena.

The surge of augmented reality in the gaming industry owes its roots to the foundation laid by social media platforms, particularly Facebook, which introduced a gaming platform in 2007. Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the significant contribution of simplified gaming to social media’s revenue, when titles like FarmVille and Mafia Wars reached over 300 million users by 2012.

Moreover, the social dimension of gaming explores the intentional integration of psychological motivators, like rewards, challenges, and progression, to immerse players in a state of “flow.” This enhances motivation and engagement and fosters a sense of accomplishment and community. In this article, we will delve into these key aspects to provide a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of social AR gaming. 

Join us as we share inspiring success stories in this ever-evolving landscape. Plus, get answers to intriguing questions like “What does AR stand for in games?” and“What are AR games?” 

The Evolution Of Augmented Reality (AR) Gaming

The AR gaming history reflects its gradual evolution throughout the 21st century, starting with the emergence of AR applications on smartphones. Notably, social media platforms like Facebook played a pivotal role in drawing attention to interactive digital experiences, marked by the release of Facebook Platform in 2007, allowing developers to upload their projects. This shift introduced AR gaming innovations and groundbreaking business models that encouraged developers to rethink their strategies, leading to the remarkable success of projects like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and Zynga, which quickly amassed around 300 million users by 2012.

In 2016, Pokémon Go by Niantic Labs marked a major milestone, allowing users to blend their physical world with augmented reality through their device’s camera. With 550 million downloads and $470 million in revenue within the first 80 days, it showcased the intersection of AR and video games, and universal appeal of AR.

By late 2018, Instagram’s Spark AR platform testing ignited a surge of unique AR content. Creators shared imaginative filters, while Instagram introduced its initial AR games, revolutionizing interaction through gestures and expressions. These milestones highlight the dynamic growth of AR gaming history, and general technological advancements.

AR games redefine interactive playing with their unique attributes. They blend virtual and real worlds, encouraging exploration and real-world object use. Many are multiplayer, fostering social interaction, while location-based features add real-world context to challenges, motivating exploration. These player experiences  are inherently active, requiring physical movement and promoting exercise. AR enhances immersion, blurring the digital and physical realms, and offers creative potential, empowering players to craft and share AR content. This convergence redefines gaming, creating an interactive, engaging, and physically active form of entertainment.

The Power Of Social Interaction In Gaming

According to Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s Chief Creative Officer, the monthly presence of 700 million players on Facebook underscores the significant importance of social gaming experiences. These experiences not only engage a vast and diverse audience but also create a sense of community, interaction, and shared enjoyments, demonstrating how social gaming has become a vital aspect of modern digital entertainment and connectivity.

Furthermore, Meta Spark introduces innovative ways to enhance social gaming communities and foster online gaming friendships. By enabling the publication effects for use during the Instagram or Messenger video calls, social gaming experiences are elevated to a new level, facilitating stronger connections among players.

In contrast to the conventional, isolated AR effects, group effects offer collaborative and interactive experiences, enhancing multiplayer experience. This means participants can now engage in multiplayer and co-op game play during video calls, sharing objects, or immersing themselves in the same captivating backgrounds and ambient features. The possibilities are extensive. 

The introduction of group effects through Meta Spark illustrates the evolving nature of social gaming, emphasizing the development of stronger communities, the enhancement of multiplayer experiences, and the cultivation of online friendships. This transformation ensures that virtual interaction is not merely about entertainment but also about forging relationships and embarking on shared digital adventures.

Challenges And Limitations

Despite today’s achievements and success, the world of augmented reality games faced numerous challenges and limitations, particularly in its early stages following the initial triumphs of Pokemon Go, which had promised substantial potential. Among these hurdles, technical challenges played a pivotal role. Six out of 10 gamers held high expectations for AR entertainment, craving immersive experiences. In spite of that, in the early days, not all devices supported AR, and those that did came at a steep cost, making them unattainable for the average users. Compounding the problem, these games required separate downloads and installations, further raising the entry barrier. This technical barrier and the cost of AR-ready devices presented substantial challenges, resulting in accessibility and cost issues in AR. 

Consequently, potential users were driven away from AR content, and their excitement began to wane. The demand for immersive AR gaming experience persisted, but the supply fell due to these accessibility and cost issues. However, in response to these formidable challenges, Facebook introduced a solution in the form of Spark AR mentioned above. This platform allowed augmented reality technology to function on a border range of devices, including older and more affordable ones, effectively addressing the accessibility challenges issues that had stymied the growth of AR online play.

Advantages Of Social AR Gaming

Nevertheless, the Advantages of Social AR Gaming have far outweighed the challenges, contributing to its popularity and widespread appeal. Let’s delve into these benefits:

  1. Enhanced Immersion: Social AR elevates immersion to a new level, seamlessly merging the digital and physical realms. With AR technology, players become fully engrossed in interactivity of captivating environments.
  2. Real-world Interactions and Exploration: Unlike traditional digital game play, Social AR gaming promotes real-world interactions and exploration. Players venture into their surroundings, uncovering hidden treasures, battling foes, and solving puzzles while enjoying the physical activity and fresh air.
  3. Connection with a Global Player Base: Social AR gaming transcends borders, offering players the chance to connect with a diverse, global player base. Whether teaming up with friends from around the world or competing against skilled opponents, the community aspect of AR is genuinely international, fostering connections with fellow players worldwide.

The Future Of Social AR Gaming

Emerging trends in AR gaming point to an exciting future, with numerous advancements set to redefine our experiences. Predictions for the next 2-3 years suggest that AR gaming will evolve significantly, incorporating innovative features that promise to reshape how we interact with digital entertainment.

Multiplayer Experiences: The introduction of network multiplayer functionality in AR gaming is poised to become a turning point with a notable societal impact. This development will unlock a wealth of creative possibilities, allowing users to engage in real-time battles or races with friends, either in the comfort of their own homes or in the heart of a city’s central square. The fusion of AR and geolocation tracking will enable the creation of city-wide quests, treasure hunts, NPC missions, and even player vs. player combat scenarios, offering players a deeply immersive and interactive experience.

Voice Control: The integration of voice recognition in AR gaming is on the horizon. Platforms like Instagram are exploring this feature, with the potential to create interactive quizzes that automatically verify user responses, enhancing the gamification of social media.

Monetization Opportunities: filters will evolve into a promotional and collaborative tool. Partners can use them to craft virtual banners and in-game quests to promote new products or brands within the gaming environment. This innovative approach to advertising and marketing within AR gaming promises to open up new revenue streams and unique promotional opportunities.

The trajectory of social AR gaming suggests a promising future characterized by enhanced immersion, dynamic user experience, and innovative revenue models. As technologies continues to advance, we can anticipate an even more immersive and interactive digital landscape. The potential for AR gaming to become a societal and cultural phenomenon is evident, with the capacity to transform how we engage with entertainment, advertising, and social interaction.

The fusion of real and virtual worlds in AR opens doors to new forms of entertainment, marketing, and community-building. The gamification of daily life, combined with the integration of AR in social media, will likely lead to shifts in how we perceive and engage with our surroundings.


Social AR gaming holds significant importance in our digital world, much like the card game Windows introduced in its early versions to teach users mouse skills, and is preparing us for a future where augmented reality seamlessly integrates with our daily routines. This transformative trend enhances immersion and connectivity in the digital realm. AR’s influence on our daily lives is profound, as it blurs the lines between reality and virtual experiences. As we look to the future, we already understand that social AR gaming has a digital world impact, encapsulated in redefining the way we connect, interact, play and immerse ourselves.

Other news