One of the fun things that Pixel users are able to do on their devices since 2017 is to play around with the AR stickers on the Google Camera. They were eventually renamed to Playground AR stickers and you got to use these Playmoji characters on your smartphone when sending messages to loved ones. But it looks like those days of goofing around with AR stickers, or at least this incarnation, will soon be over as the Pixel 4a and future Pixel phones will no longer support this.
9 to 5 Google shares that the Playground mode is not found anymore in the Pixel 4a. Previously, if you swiped to the Google Camera’s more tab, you’ll get a separate interface where you will eventually see the Playmoji tab and you can browse and download various sticker packs. You will then be able to overlay it in your viewfinder and use those stickers that can react to the scene especially in the selfie mode.
But now Google has confirmed that they have indeed removed Playground stickers from the Pixel 4a. They also said that future Pixel phones that will be released will not have the AR stickers supported as well. But those devices like the Pixel 4, 3a, older Pixels, and even some LG and Motorola phones will continue to enjoy the AR stickers. However, some of the Playmoji like Star Wars, Stranger Things, etc are gone and all that remains are the Google sticker packs.
Google stated that they will be focusing on “AR experiences that serve a much wider audience”. This probably means they will not be doing Pixel-exclusive AR features but rather those that everyone can enjoy like the 3D animals that people have been playing around with on Google Search. They didn’t really specifically say what those ARCore powered experiences will be so we’ll have to wait and see.
Strangely enough, you can still install the Playground app on your device but nothing will actually happen so why should you? If you’re missing AR sticker shenanigans, you can just enjoy those aforementioned 3D animals on Google Search.