Snap is testing paid upgrades to popular AR lenses
Snapchat is test a new way for its creators of augmented reality glasses to earn money with their creations. The company is experimenting with a new feature that will allow creators to sell paid upgrades to lenses with Snapchat’s built-in currency.
Creators have flexibility in terms of “digital assets” they can fit into their existing lens. It could be a new effect in the lens, new editing tools, or some other type of “power up” that enhances the effect, according to Snap’s Sophia Dominguez, who leads Snap’s AR partnerships. the company with the creators.
For its initial rollout, Snap chose to work with the creators behind some of the app’s most popular effects, like the “potato lens” (shown in the top image). With unlockable upgrades, fans will now be able to use tokens to change the effect with different features like a magic wand or a policeman costume. For now, only a handful of creators have access to the feature, which will only be available in Australia and New Zealand to start.
Snapchat’s augmented reality effects have long been one of the biggest draws of the app, which has enjoyed plenty of viral lenses over the years. But until now, users could access all these effects for free. And augmented reality creators hoping to monetize their work have mostly relied on partnerships with brands, which hire them to create custom glasses.
Dominguez says scalable lenses could be an important way for more augmented reality creators to make a living from their work. It could also prove lucrative for Snap, which is increasingly experimenting sources of income. At this time, the company is not disclosing details of its deals with creators on internal lens sales, but the company is already making money from which can also be used for game upgrades or to tip in-app creators.
Of course, this all hinges on Snapchat users’ willingness to spend money on new exclusive augmented reality effects, which is far from certain. “Actually, we have no idea how it’s going to turn out,” Dominguez told Engadget. “We can’t guarantee anything, but we really hope that because a lot of it comes from our AR developers and it’s also income that goes to them, their subscribers will support them.”
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