With the 2018 FIFA World Cup underway in Russia, soccer (aka "football") fans worldwide can show support for their favorite teams and players in augmented reality via Snapchat and Facebook.
On Snapchat for iOS and Android, fans can don virtual glasses painted with their team's colors. Also, thanks to Snapchat's background segmentation capabilities, virtual soccer balls float behind the user.
In addition, the World Cup's official broadcaster, Fox, has sponsored a Lens that ties into the big match between Spain and Portugal.
On the front-facing camera, fans can choose their allegiance, with background segmentation transporting users to the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, and body recognition putting their team's kit on their body. On the rear camera, users can view the World Cup trophy in their own living room, and then transform their space into the pitch, where they can flick a soccer ball into the virtual goal.
Facebook offers even more options for fans to express their enthusiasm via camera effects in the Messenger app for iOS and Android. Users can cycle through various configurations of virtual face paint, eye black, headbands, and wigs in their team's colors while digital bursts of fireworks go off overhead.
Because soccer is undeniably the most popular sport in the world, the World Cup is set to dominate sports-centric social feeds for the next month. But more importantly, the fact that fans now have so many options to express their rooting interests in augmented reality underscores just how far into the mainstream the technology has already progressed.
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