Streamlabs Gets Into AR With Snapchat-like Facemasks

(Image credit: Streamlabs)

Streamlabs has been working on a streaming empire. In the last few months it has announced a partnership with Intel for streaming-ready PCs, introduced an app store for streamers looking to improve their broadcasts and otherwise sought to expand upon its platform. Today, it's going back to its roots with Facemasks, an augmented reality (AR) feature that makes it easy for streamers to enable animated 3D overlays.

Most people think streaming is easy. But some of the more complicated elements, from a chatbot that helps tame Twitch chat to those cute little animations that pop up whenever someone makes a donation, used to be a pain to set up. Streamlabs was founded to streamline (pun intended) the process. Everything since has stemmed from the company's initial success in letting pretty much anyone spruce up their stream.

Streamlabs explained how Facemasks works in its announcement: "Viewers can donate money to their favorite streamer from the tip page. During checkout, viewers will have the option to pick a facemask from a selection of randomly generated free masks. The mask will then appear as a filter over the webcam in Streamlabs OBS. Just like with donation alerts, the content creator keeps 100 percent of all Facemask donations."

The company said donation revenues increased 30 percent on average for streamers who enabled Facemasks during its tests. Facemasks could prove lucrative for Streamlabs too because people "can optionally pay to unlock mask crates and permanently gain access to whichever ones they open" if they don't like anything in the random selection, which, yes, means loot boxes are coming to apps.

Facemasks will require Streamlabs OBS, the company's own take on the popular OBS client, to function. The feature will be just like other overlays that appear on-screen when people make their donation and then disappear without requiring any intervention from the streamer. Is this the most innovative use of AR? Probably not. But there's nothing wrong with having a little fun, and so far it seems like Facemasks will be a win-win-win.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.