Snapchat parent Snap Inc. is hiring a rash of 3D animators, 3D engineers, character riggers, and character modeler positions for its research department. The move could indicate a deeper push into augmented reality or gaming for the company, as Business Insider points out.
Earlier this year, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel said that Snap Inc. is primarily a camera company, not a social media company. The company further cemented its commitment to imagery with the launch of Spectacles, $130 sunglasses that record 10- seconds of video from the wearer’s perspective. Spiegel has billed the sunglasses “a toy,” but it’s clear both from its dive into hardware and its new job listings that the company is looking to expand into new experiences on its platform. Development of 3D Snapchat characters (perhaps related to its acquisition of Bitstrips?) might require the company to create a whole new set of hardware for displaying either virtual worlds or augmented reality. While other companies, like Google, have been less successful at scaling augmented reality devices, Snap’s playful nature and young following may be an advantage in selling such hardware.