Pokémon Go Showing The Potential Value In Augmented Reality

It was only officially launched on 6th July, but Pokémon Go has already become a massive hit for Nintendo and its partners. The free app had added $7.5bn to Nintendo’s market valuation by the 12th July, and it has been adopted and installed by 5% of the US Android owning population. What’s more, its users open the app more often than LinkedIn users visit LinkedIn and spend more time on the app than they do on WhatsApp and Instagram. It is difficult to read any news site without seeing a Pokémon Go related story; some of them bad, but most of them positive.

Details About Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is an Augmented Reality, or AR, app. Users take on the role of Poketrainers and attempt to catch Pokémon by viewing them through their cell phone screen while going about their day. Users’ mobile phones vibrate to let them know when a Pokémon is nearby, and gamers are also required to look for Pokéstops and gyms in their local neighbourhood. The game was originally launched in the US, Canada, and Australia, and will soon launch in Japan, the UK, and a host of other territories.

Augmented Reality

While Virtual Reality has been taking a lot of headlines recently, especially thanks to the announcement that VR ready Playstation and Xbox One consoles will launch by the end of the year, it is AR that could arguably be the future of gaming and apps. While VR enables users to immerse themselves in a different reality, AR aims to improve or change the current reality.

In practical terms, VR requires the use of a headset while AR apps are available through existing technology. Pokémon Go, for example, is available on the majority of modern cellphones and smartphones.

Getting Into AR

Although VR and AR are still in their infancy, they have begun to gain traction in the consumer marketplace. Gaming and entertainment are the obvious benefactors of this technology, but alternate realities like these are also proving popular and effective in industries like healthcare, tourism, manufacturing, and retail.

The technologies are surprisingly open, and there are numerous applications and pieces of software that can be used to develop apps. Creating a game like Pokémon Go would require 3D designers to create 3D models, audio engineers to create the audio files, and programmers to combine the different elements and to code the actual game behind the AR. Alternatively, it is possible to use a service like Best 3D Model, which enables developers to buy existing, stock 3D models and then use these to create their apps.

Analyst Predictions For AR and VR vary dramatically and fluctuate wildly but all agree that it is a developing market. The launch of the Google Cardboard Viewer, which is a $20 mobile VR headset, and the launch of consumer VR headsets from HTC, Samsung, and Oculus Rift, indicate that the market has plenty of movement left.

AR – The Future

Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies have got gamers excited, and while VR requires the purchase of a potentially expensive headset, AR apps and software becoming more readily available on a host of different devices. Pokémon Go, which represents Nintendo’s first foray into mobile gaming, is already leading the way in terms of what developers can achieve, although analysts remain sceptical that the millions of free downloads will translate to an increase in bottom line revenues.


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