Super Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Industry News and Technology Updates

Pokémon GOes Viral

Pokemon GO has only been out for about a week and it is already garnering massive worldwide attention. The addicting game has greatly increased Nintendo’s stock market value and it surprisingly has nearly as much active daily users as Twitter. Many longtime Pokemon fans have always dreamed of seeing and catching Pokemon in real life and they are finally able to experience this dream with the help of their smartphone. Pokemon GO is a location based augmented-reality mobile game developed by Niantic Labs. The objective of the game is to capture and train the animal-like creatures known as Pokemon. Players are meant to travel the overworld of the game, which is a Google Maps-like 2-D representation of the real world’s landscape, with their customized GPS-tracked avatars. One of the greatest aspects of the game is that players can find different types of Pokemon depending on their surroundings. For instance, water-type Pokemon usually appear near the ocean, and ghost-type pokemon normally appear near cemeteries. This incentivises players to roam around their environment and it makes playing this game extremely social. In fact, there will be a “Pokemon GO Crawl” happening in San Francisco on July 20th and an outstanding 27,000 Pokemon GO players may show up to the event. Although many have claimed that Pokemon GO has made AR mainstream, this game only exemplifies a fraction of what true AR has to offer. During encounters, players are not able to get a full 360 view of Pokemon, the Pokemon appear to be floating in mid-air most of the time, and player’s are not able to see the real relative sizes of different Pokemon. More advanced AR technology will be able to fix all of those faults to create a more believable AR experience. With that said, this version of Pokemon GO is a great start that shows a ton of opportunity and potential. Huge core elements of the established Pokemon games have yet to be added such as trading and battling Pokemon with other players. Niantic CEO, John Hanke, has confirmed that these features are coming. He has also hinted that Pokemon GO may support VR with Google Cardboard and more advanced AR with Microsoft HoloLens in the future. Many people have been taking advantage of Pokemon GO’s use of AR. For instance, some businesses only allow paying customers to catch Pokemon and capture PokeStops within their vicinities and some people have even used the game to commit robberies. Players should be sure to follow the game’s opening loading screen and be alert and aware of their surroundings to avoid harm. Despite this, the negative press has strongly helped the virality of Pokemon GO.  It will be extremely exciting to see this game evolve. Niantic seems to be working hard to provide steady, progressive updates that is sure to delight the mass market of Pokemon GO players. This game is fantastic for the future of AR software because it is giving the mainstream audience a peek at what AR can do and it provides a decent reference point. Perhaps our hand-tracking can be implemented into the game so that players can interact with their Pokemon like virtual pets (i.e. petting, feeding etc.). Judging by the continuous success of Pokemon GO, the future of AR is sure to be a lot more social and practical than VR.  -Amanze Ugoh