While much of the world is focused on virtual reality, another revolution is taking place in the digital sphere. VR has struggled to catch on with the mainstream due to its high cost of entry, but AR has flourished by making the most of the devices people already have. Nowhere has this been more evident than through the incredible popularity of Pokémon GO.
Pokémon GO made good on the promise of augmented realty by bringing the lovable pocket monsters to life and placing them in the real world. It did this by accessing the smartphone camera to overlay in-game graphics onto the screen capture of the real world. In order to play and find Pokémon in your own neighborhood, all you needed was a mobile device with a built-in camera. Many games had tried to make good on the promise of AR for some time, but it wasn’t until Pokémon GO that the potential for the medium was fully realized. Despite its initial popularity, the game saw a steep drop-off in users after the first six months. Seeing that, developer Niantic has been looking for ways to bring them back into the fold. This is being done through the addition of even more Pokémon and by overhauling the game’s gym system. The goal is to allow for more interaction between players to recreate the feel of battling against friends in the original series.
But Pokémon Go isn’t the only game making news when it comes to augmented reality. One coder has gone the extra mile to bring the original Super Mario Bros. to the real world with a new AR spin on Nintendo’s classic platformer. The project has taken the first level from the classic game and projected it onto New York’s Central Park where the player can jump on digital goombas and koopas on the real-world paths. This kind of immersion is what many initially hoped for when it comes to augmented reality, and if this is what one developer can do, we can only imagine what’s possible with the money and power of a full studio behind it.
Making use of built-in cameras to bring games into the real-world isn’t necessarily a new idea. We’ve seen games try this in some capacity for a while, and it’s been particularly noticeable in the world of online gaming. This has been seen through the introduction of live casinos. These popular game formats use a real-time video feed of an actual dealer to up the realism, and the ante, for players by bringing the digital game world to life. Thanks to their accessibility and realism, these casino games should never be hard to find and are becoming one of the more popular modes of play for online gamers. As we continue to see the application of augmented reality concepts applied to the larger world of gaming as a whole, the adoption by both developers and users will likely also grow.
AR continues to be more intuitive and accessible than virtual reality and because of that gamers will likely witness further development in the field. Apple has strongly hinted that it will be throwing its weight behind the technology soon, and the added support of the company could have a major impact. It’s already an exciting time to be an augmented reality fan, and it looks as though things are only going to keep getting better for gamers down the line.