Google's future Pixels won't support Playground and Playmoji

Google Camera Arcore Pixel Playground
Google Camera Arcore Pixel Playground (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google will no longer support Playground on future Pixel phones.
  • Playground was integrated with the Pixel camera app and allowed users to generate 3D Playmoji in their photos and videos.
  • The company says that other ARCore experiences deliverable through the main search app will serve a wider audience.

Google will no longer support Playground and its AR stickers feature on future Pixel phones, the company shared this week. Shipping with select Android phones since the Pixel 2, Playground allowed users to generate 3D Playmoji characters from the camera app. It featured fun characters from franchises like Pokemon and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, among others. Google would also let users add captions and stickers from Gboard into your pictures and videos.

Now, while the Playground app will remain on the Pixel 4a, likely as a support library of sorts, the integration with the camera app has already been stripped away. Google points out to Android Police that other ARCore powered features like those cool dinosaurs it demoed this year are more discoverable via Search, making the Playground app unnecessary as a delivery mechanism for new augmented reality experiences.

Google provided the following statement to Android Police explaining the situation:

We're continuing to bring ARCore and its latest features to Pixel 4a and the many other ARCore-enabled devices. Playground will still be supported on earlier Pixel devices and we'll focus our efforts on building great AR experiences that serve a much wider audience.

Google's AR stickers were a feature that felt built for a demo. They were cool, but many users like myself likely used them once and then promptly forgot they existed. Google phasing out support for this to focus on areas where users were paying attention is certainly the right move here. Older Pixel devices that supported the full feature gamut will retain that support, but the Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, 5, and whatever else Google has planned will leave this in the dust.

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Michael Allison