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A Year After ‘Pokémon Go,’ Where Are the Augmented-Reality Hits? (wsj.com)
90 points by prostoalex 136 days ago | hide | past | web | 101 comments | favorite

It's interesting that almost all of the comments here assume that the 'AR' in Pokemon Go was showing the Pokemon character in the camera viewfinder during the catching sequence.

Is it not also AR to have many invisible creatures, gyms, and resources placed in the real world? I don't think there needs to be a visual component at all for it to be AR. When I used to play the game my reality was augmented because everywhere I went I thought "I wonder what Pokemon are around" and would check the app.

A seamless visual integration would be nice (I want to see some Pokemon battle in my living room) but even just the Ingress-style map integration is AR in my opinion.

I think this is exactly what the media is trying to get at when they refer to Pokemon Go as an "AR" game, and I'm surprised most folks in this thread are missing the mark.

Seeing as plenty of companies are wanting to cash in on the visual definition of AR, perhaps we need a differentiated term here? If you wanted to highlight the locational aspect, perhaps something like "augmented cartography" but I think the idea goes beyond harnessing position data... it's more generally about annotating reality, in a way.

Visually Augmented Reality VAR ?

My only contention with this is that those features don't really take influence from the real world in any more than a superficial sense. The biggest influence is geography of spawns. I don't mean the regional pokemon aspect, rather the feature that water-based ones spawn closer to water (ie: next to a river). I can agree that's AR.

On the other hand, gyms are just arbitrarily tied to landmarks purely by location. There's no actual interaction with the landmark. Excepting spawn variance, you could replace the entire pokemon map with a fake world and absolutely nothing would change from a gameplay point of view.

In that sense, I struggle to call that AR there's no actual augmentation to the reality. The pokemon, gyms, PoI, etc. do not influence or take influence from the landscape around them. You don't go to actual hospitals to heal your pokemon. Gyms don't change in any way whatsoever based on where they're placed - for example, battling in a gym in the middle of a park doesn't involve fighting in an open field with no obstacles, vs a gym in a CBD letting the buildings, cars, etc. play a role in the battle.

It really boils down to the subjective aspect of what AR/VR/etc. constitutes. For me, there needs to be some influence from the real world to the AR. With PoGo, there's really not beyond the most superficial listed above. In that sense, it's no more AR than an achievement/reward-based, social-network style step counter where you compete with your friends and the public for the amount you walk. It simply uses the GPS to measure distance - beyond that, the real world plays no role.

> Excepting spawn variance, you could replace the entire pokemon map with a fake world and absolutely nothing would change from a gameplay point of view.

One major thing would change: the social aspect. There are raids in Pokemon Go and they happen in specific physical locations. You must literally go stand near other humans and cooperate with them to win.

> those features don't really take influence from the real world in any more than a superficial sense. The biggest influence is geography of spawns. I don't mean the regional pokemon aspect, rather the feature that water-based ones spawn closer to water (ie: next to a river).

Is that actually a feature of Pokemon Go? I'd heard of this, but what I heard was specifically that it was a myth.

Water-based pokemon like magikarp, slowpoke, dratini, etc. spawn at the edges of rivers far more than they do even 500m - 1km away. I work in an office next to a river and it is definitely true.

I suspect the old rumours of 'porygon is most likely found near libraries, etc.' is myth, but this definitely holds.

It's definitely not a myth. I live in a coastal city and the seafront is packed with water pokémon.

As far as I know it's even more advanced, like more rock Pokemon near the mountains. I also heard that electric Pokemon spawn more around power plants or during thunderstorms, but that could be a myth.

Different Pokemon are more likely to spawn more in specific 'biomes' which are tied to real-world features. I believe OpenStreetMaps is the data source.

> Is it not also AR to have many invisible creatures, gyms, and resources placed in the real world?

Technically... yes. But that would make any location-tracking application technically "AR" too.

Yelp is an AR application (it's Monocle mode) in much more of a real way tham just slapping stuff on landmarks and using GPS.

Lets face it - "Augmented Reality" to most people means real-time video overlay and enhancement. Maps data isn't reality, it's a representation of it. Real-time video through a devices camera is a reflection of reality so augmenting that is much more towards the spirit of the term.

I completely agree with you; however, the switch in the game to toggle the real-world overlay on and off is labeled "AR", which is likely why people refer to that feature as such.

Interesting point. I'm not sure what the actual definition of AR is, but the article seems to assume the same definition that several others did, including myself:

> "the nascent technology, which blends digital images with a person’s view of the real world."

I think this is part of the reason I've been seeing the phrase "mixed reality" be used to refer to what was previously AR.

edit: correct mixed relative to mixed reality. brane fart.

The specific term for this AR technique is "image overlay".

I absolutely agree with that definition of AR, I didn't feel like I lost anything when I stopped using the camera view finder.

Pokemon Go may not have deeply integrated with reality, but it brought the game "out of the screen".

Ingress already existed...

Pokemon Go was implemented by the Ingress team.

And it had practically no marketing, an terrible on boarding experience. Pokémon Go was Ingress for the masses.

Actually, Pokemon Go essentially IS Ingress, as pretty much every Ingress spot is also a PG spot.

The two kinds could be called geo-AR and visual AR, with Pokemon Go being the odd outlier that dabbles in both.

"Geo-AR" reached an early user awareness peak when foursquare was exciting and it is still very much alive in niches like Strava segments.

> my reality was augmented because everywhere I went I thought "I wonder what Pokemon are around" and would check the app.

But you're not augmenting your senses that perceive the reality. Using the app to check if an entity exists near you is nothing more than just a reference check; it's like looking up Yelp reviews for the restaurant you're in.

I was about to comment about this until you changed my mind.

As someone who played a lot of Ingress: I _really_ wish a competent company would enter the AR market!

Yes, Niantic had success with Ingress amd PoGo but literally everything they ever did they did in the most stupid and brain-dead way.

I would still play Ingress today but after 3 years I am beyond frustrated with that company and lost any drive to invest any more time and energy.

What makes me sad is the fact that Ingress still has so much untapped potential but at the same time I know that Niantic is unable to do anything with that potential.

I wish Niantic would realize they suck at making games, but have a treasure of data. They could license that data to more creative game devs and everyone would benefit... They could be a platform instead of a game company.

And the same could be said of PoGo.

Every since the last patch there has been a bug where if person A of one team takes down a gym and puts in a pokemon, person B of the same team has to wait half an hour before they can put in their pokemon, getting a "The gym is under attack!" error message before those ~30 minutes. The one core gameplay feature, taking down gyms together with one or more friends, has been broken for almost two weeks. The incompetence is staggering.

There are workarounds (everyone have to insert their pokemon at the exact same time), but that's besides the point.

I agree that's very annoying, but it's:

A) Only 5 or 10 minutes, definitely not 30

B) If both/all team members are present in the fight, they all have "claim" to the gym afterwards, and this works. I've tested both cases.

I don't know about A, I just know it's far too long to just hang around and wait, but regarding B: I'm certain that when my brother and I have taken over a gym together, both present in the fight, and one have put in a pokemon before the other, the other can't insert a pokemon because "The gym is under attack".

Ok, I specifically tested this with my wife the other day, and it worked. But the game has seen a fair share of bugs, so I can't say I'm surprised.

Agreed, Niantic makes horrible software. PoekmonGo is still after a year of updates very unstable and absolutely devastating on your battery

Google Maps also burns through battery at a crazy rate. Seems like phone GPS usage is just power intensive.

I've played Pokémon Go quite a bit since it released, and I turned off AR mode within the first few weeks of playing. It's just a gimmick, and it gets old pretty fast, kinda like the '3D movies' fad.

I did the same thing. The interesting part of Pokemon Go was the geographical aspect of the game (which was really pioneered with Ingress, but became much more popular with the addition of the Pokemon IP). The AR was very gimmicky, and I honestly found it to be a distraction whenever it was turned on.

And also the problem was that they made catching pokémon harder in AR mode. I quite liked the AR gimmick, but I turned it off because (1) it made my 3-year-old phone more prone to lag and sucked battery like crazy, and (2) I found out pokémon would stay much more still without AR.

That was very stupid. I thought it would actually let you see the world as if Pokémon were in it, but it was basically just a picture in a camera background.

Didn't play the game at all, but saw my entire office be captivated by the phenomenon. Pretty much everyone turned off the AR within a day. Not sure that ever mattered as much as the location aspect...which I think really speaks to something that Dennis at Foursquare has been talking about for ~10 years now. Pokemon took that mainstream, for a hot second anyway, but in reality the value is in the convergence of social, local, and mobile...or what some might parody as SoLoMo on hit HBO TV shows.

Also, 3D movies only seem to be getting better. Pretty sure it's not a fad at this point.

I don't see that as particularly unusual. With many video games the graphics can become a nuisance, particularly with mobile games or RPGs where you end up waiting for animations to complete over and over.

I still enjoy 3d movies.

In theaters, with the right treatment and the right film, 3D can be totally awesome.

I haven't heard a lot of people talk about the 3D in Rogue One, but I'm very glad I saw it that way.

Granted, sometimes gimmicks can be enjoyable. But in the case of AR in Pokemon Go (and IMO most 3D movies) they just distract from the actual content.

Where are the hits?

- AR powers the world's #1 Photo App (#3 most popular app overall) in Snapchat's filters.

- AR is getting its first commercially polished, OS level set of libraries in the next release from the world's most valuable consumer electronics company in iOS 11.

- AR's killer form factor - wearable glasses - is being furiously developed by Google, Apple, SNAP, MSFT, etc, etc and it's going to be weird and fucking wonderful when AR has a truly suitable foundation to build on.

So where are the hits?

All around us, right in front of us.

- AR's killer form factor - wearable glasses

Unlikely. I've elaborated on this in the past.

Basically: You cannot make things dark. You can't use LCD type technology to block part of the lenses for the same reason you can't see scratches on your lenses: you're not focused on your lenses! You're focused in the distance. That means the ideal of having crisp, readable text overlays is mostly a fantasy. You can prove this yourself: get a piece of tape, write some text on it, and put it over your lenses. You can't read the text. You can even use clear tape to simulate what a real overlay would look like.

The second problem is power. Oculus makes sense because you're tethered to a high-end workhorse. When you're using glasses, you have neither a video card nor a huge source of power at your disposal. That means battery technology would need to improve by a massive amount just to make the glasses not die within hours.

The third issue is target recognition. The real world is instant. That means any overlay you use would need to attain 90FPS to appear seamless. If you're going to do the most basic thing with an AR device -- drawing an arrow on the ground, indicating where to walk, a'la Google Maps -- you'll need to recognize the ground + render the overlay within 11 milliseconds. This might work for a ground-based overlay, since you can assume it's a flat plane in a big city, as long as your gyroscope is accurate enough. But where would you even stick a gyroscope with that kind of precision inside a glasses form factor?

The best form factor for this would probably be some kind of "bandana", where the meat of the device sits on the back of your head. That'd look dorky and it'd be uncomfortable, but you might be able to pull it off.

The only way this might work is if you use LCD tech to dim the entirety of both lenses enough to then project light on top of them. But again, your focusing out in the distance, so trying to show anything readable (text messages) seems kind of a fantasy.

Here's proof: Pull out your phone and hold it up to your eye where lenses of glasses would normally be. I'm not sure if you could even render it in a way that would account for the focus blur.

Have you used any optical see-through HMDs? There's heaps, and they all have no problem displaying text. If you look at the spec sheet for the BT-300 for example [0] you'll see "Virtual screen size: 80" support (virtual viewing distance 5m)", or in other words you need to focus your eyes five meters away to see the display sharply, at which point it will appear to take up 80in of diagonal space in the real world (don't know why they mixed the units like this though). I'm pretty sure most people could read text off a 720p 80" screen 5m away.

As for not making things dark, yes that's true. You can of course tint the glasses or use an extra layer to darken the outside world, or you can really crank the brightness causes the user's iris to contract creating the impression of higher contrast in the dark regions. Best option is to combine the approaches with a camera observing the environment, which can even be done on a per-pixel basis as in the paper I helped write [1]

As for power/performance, it's all a matter of desired form factor. If you don't mind a cable to an arm or hip attached android device, you can have everything you need right now. Alternatively there's the Hololens style huge headset. But if you want slimline glasses yes you'll be waiting a few years.

A lot a people are bearish on the future of AR and I can appreciate that viewpoint, but the arguments you've brought for it are at best half true and I hope readers don't see this and think any of these problems are unsolvable (or indeed, haven't already been solved)

[0] https://tech.moverio.epson.com/en/bt-300/ [1] http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7523376/

Whilst I am certainly supportive of open access science in general, and in the case of my own writing am glad to see it reach a wider audience, I'm surprised by the brazenness of linking to a pirated article whilst in discussion with its author. I don't know whether to be offended or impressed

Do you see a reason that, as an author, you wouldn't want your article to be pirated as widely as possible? You get no actual benefit from IEEE making money off of your article, right?

This is speculation, but perhaps there's a game-theory issue here. If IEEE loses money by people pirating (and you can apply the usual counter-arguments about whether the pirateer would have gone on to purchase it anyway) rather than paying then publishing costs increase to cover that loss, and therefore hurting the authors who must cover that increase in future if they want to publish in the journal again.

A better situation is where the preprint or open access version is available.

> then publishing costs increase to cover that loss, and therefore hurting the authors who must cover that increase in future

WHAT?! Does that mean it's the authors who pay publishers to get their work published? Is that really true? And then publishers also charge readers for what they were paid to publish in the first place?

If so then... I don't even... :)

Yes, this is actually how scientific publishing works.

I think the university insulates the author from the costs you mention. This also assumes that the market for articles is fair and rational, when it's anything but.

I think that science should be your ultimate goal as a scientist. Science is an inclusive goal, not an exclusive clique. You can certainly argue that your article was meant only for students and viewers who have access to IEEE's walled garden. But then you must also admit that your work isn't meant to benefit anyone else, except indirectly.

It also fosters discussion, since we can view your work and see whether it stands on its own merits, or whether it's related to the discussion past the title and the abstract.

The IEEE site also shows that your article has been viewed 238 times. My comment linking to the unimprisoned version was upvoted 5 times, and a good rule of thumb is that 4*upvotes = view count on a clickable link. (I've measured this in the past.) So your readership probably increased by at least 10%.

Lastly, I'm hopeful that IEEE and other institutions will eventually yield to the forces of technology, as the RIAA did. Attempting to stop technology by force doesn't have a good track record of success. It will be an unpleasant ride until then, but the world will be better off.

I think my manner of speaking was too wry. To be clear: I'm perfectly happy for people to read my research by whatever means they need to take. I too hope that scientific publishing gets its act together and moves away from hoarding knowledge behind paid subscriptions, and guerilla efforts to bring that closer to reality are appreciated. It was a tongue in cheek way of saying "I'm right here, you could have asked :)" (I would have said 'go for it')

To answer some of the sibling comments:

rspeer > You get no actual benefit from IEEE making money off of your article, right?

I'm well aware, although as an IEEE member I don't think it's fair to say no benefit, although it is very hard to quantify.

klibertp > what difference it makes for you personally, as an author and researcher, whether people access your work via a paywall or not?

None. As said above, I think my tenor wasn't communicated well enough. I was more just surprised that, given that sillysaurus3 and I have never communicated before, someone would take an action that could have potentially been quite upsetting (I know a few researchers where that would have definitely been the case).

klibertp > Does that mean it's the authors who pay publishers to get their work published? Is that really true? And then publishers also charge readers for what they were paid to publish in the first place?

Absolutely not in our field. As I understand it, in some fields there is a charge for very long form writing to cover the work required in reviewing and editing (though perversely the actual person who does that work is often unpaid), but generally pay-to-publish would indicate a low quality journal and would be an outlet of last resort.

I know next to nothing about the process of writing and publishing scientific papers, so forgive me if the question is stupid, but: what difference it makes for you personally, as an author and researcher, whether people access your work via a paywall or not?

The "crisp, readable text" thing is doable. Just put lenses in front of the text screen to make the focus appear in the distance and combine with incoming light using partially mirrored glass or a prism.

Having used the Hololens it actually works quite well. Also in IBMs 17 year old thing https://www.cnet.com/news/computers-off-the-rack-from-ibm/

MEMS gyroscopes are sub-mm volume now. Whether the accuracy is sufficient or not, I don't know enough to comment. I would guess that probably it is.

http://www.mcubemems.com/product/mc7010-9-axis-igyro/ (that's 3mm square). Plenty of space on a pair of glasses for a 9 dof IMU.

11 milliseconds on a modern CPU is a long time for image processing. You need a lot of grunt to do it, but it would work. It makes sense that the glasses should just be a dumb screen with some odometry, connected to a much more powerful data source.

I have no idea how they work but the Hololens can display text. If you piece of tape thought experiment was relevant it would apply equally to VR headsets but they also provide readable text and other forms of detail.

Regarding the battery problem, this is solved right now by having a cable run to your pocket. You can carry a 5000mAh battery in your pocket no problem.

You realize that the entire thesis of your statements are given the lie by the fact that Google Cardboard exists, right? It's literally holding the phone up to your face, and using the camera to take photos out the side. I've used it to filter reality

"AR" doesn't mean "projecting clear text onto the real world". It means retransmitting the real world from a camera onto an LCD with things added.

We literally already have the technology built into phones. You add some lenses and a battery pack and you're good.

That's hardly going to comfortable to keep your eyes focused on short distance for a long period of time. That's the problem with "holding the phone up to your face".

Your eyes are not focused on a short distance. The whole point is that the lenses make it so that your eyes focus to infinity while the device is very close.

> You cannot make things dark

Magic Leap has hinted that their hardware will be able to do this.

You assume current LCD tech, but there are NEW things being built.

I already carry around my processing unit and battery all the time: my phone. Glasses only need to do the display.

I come from a country family with lots of family. I broke a different way, and I'm citified. They hunt. I don't.

After playing Pokémon Go for a while, I finally realized that the act of playing PMG is like hunting & stalking for deer/elk/whatever, but without needing a weapon, ammo, training, safety gear, or bloodshed.

So after factoring in all the extra exercise, a win for the city girl :-)

I think to replicate PMG's success, the next game has to tickle that same hunter driver. What's the new new thing that people want to hunt and track down? If we identify this, we will have the next winning AR game.

Pokemon Go is a hit because of Pokemon and location tracking, not AR

The AR was a fun little gimmick and it was the subject of the early articles about the game (Pokemon IRL!!!). But I personally turned it off a few days in because of how much of an increased battery drain it was and having to position yourself in front of the Pokemon in order to catch it. Much less frustrating to do things without the AR.

I say 'was'. The more they try to make it a pointless grind-numbing micro-battle game over an actual hunt for completion (and pulling me towards places I /don't/ already go) game the less I want to play.

I think they'd have to either add a tracking over time feature or restore the radar that used to exist for me to get back in to it.

the "radar" is back. instead of using the old 1-3 steps system to gauge distance, it says which pokestop the pokemon is closest to

One could argue it wasn't "augmented reality" at all. I doubt cell phones have the power to take their camera feed in, do actual computer vision to analyze the (arbitrary) world [1], and then overlay anything with any interesting intelligence at all. (Even if you can scrape together the specs to say that high end phones might be able to do nontrivial work, I wouldn't be surprised you hit problems like internal hardware bandwidths and such. Even before we discuss battery, which Pokemon Go certainly chewed down pretty well even without complex analysis.) Pokemon Go was just a character laid over the camera with no intelligence.

[1]: I have to qualify this because the 3DS can do some things with certain prepared cards, and cell phones nowadays outclass the 3DS quite handily. But doing any sort of analysis without such hints, which certainly have not taken off, is way harder. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=3ds+augmented+r...

I doubt cell phones have the power to take their camera feed in, do actual computer vision to analyze the (arbitrary) world [1], and then overlay anything with any interesting intelligence at all.

Word Lens.

A decent counterexample, but that's still not analysing the environment for geometry, it is doing OCR and very simple replacement.

And I found it to work less well in practice than the demos showed. Though working at all is impressive.

I guess you haven't seen ARKit yet?

heh, no kidding :) https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ARKit&page=&utm...

Even though, to his point, he's technically correct, it was just a "dumb" overlay. However, part of the excitement of the game was that you could see it in the world (both physically by having to walk around to catch it, and visually via the AR). I'm surprised you didn't see people posting pictures of pokemon in funny locations/situations back when it was really popular

There was an app called Minecraft Reality back in 2012 that would seem to prove otherwise: https://mojang.com/2012/11/announcing-minecraft-reality-for-...

It placed a Minecraft creation into your environment in realtime. Though it seemed mostly like a tech demo without much of a point, it was pretty impressive when I played with it.

I had couple of games installed on a symbian phone (200Mhz ARM) using "AR" almost a decade ago (a table tennis one and a virus catcher thingy), they were a bit laggy but that was because without onboard sensors they had to track movement using only the camera and at the same time push video plus overlay to the display.

So, not really impressed by pokemon go.

> I doubt cell phones have the power to take their camera feed in, do actual computer vision to analyze the (arbitrary) world

Toyota 86 AR

Though you do have to put down a marker to indicate where you want the center of the racetrack to be, so there's not much analysis going on.

The AR of Pokémon GO is the same as the 3D of the 3DS - it was a big part of the promotional material and hype for it but a year after release everyone has it turned off.

I still play my 3ds almost exclusively with 3D on. My uncorrected vision is bad enough that I have to turn it off if I'm not wearing my glasses.

However the AR of pokémon go actually makes the game harder IMO, so it's only on in the rare instances I feel the need to take an in-game photo.

Also, pokego is a significant battery drain on my primary device. I feel like leaving the camera on all the time would just kill the battery faster. OTOH I don't really care if the 3d effect kills my 3ds faster. My gaming sessions aren't as mission critical as my phone battery.

Pokemon Go was the first time I saw "most" people walking around with an external battery for their phones. I was hoping it'd really take off and phone manufacturers might finally put decent sized batteries in flagship phones.

Heck, it's just like the 3DS AR functionality, which ended up being a fairly big part of the console's promotional material/hype but got thrown to the wayside about a year or so in. I mean, when was the last AR game you played on the 3DS after the built in stuff and maybe Spirit Camera?

Just like with AR functionality on phones, the functionality on the 3DS just didn't turn out to be that useful or interesting for video games.

Really? I always liked the 3D of 3DS!

But since I've never played one for more than 30min I guess I can't speak on that.

I'd love a more passive version of Pokemon Go. I very quickly got tired of walking around with my face buried in my phone, or having to leave it open and unlocked when walking to hatch eggs.

I'd love an AR game which gathered your real-life location data but allowed you to do the actual playing when you're back at home.

Having to keep the phone unlocked while walking is a killer, the battery dies pretty fast. How is that I can go for a run and fitness apps can track me via geo-location, serving notifications as I go, but PG can't?

Indeed, I always try to keep it in energy saving mode by having it bottom side up in my pocket. But when I want to listen to music too, I have to orient my phone the other way because of the headphone jack, which causes the screen to stay on. Since my smartphone is a few years old, the battery doesn't last very long that way. Quite annoying.

Never use a measuring tape again... http://armeasure.com/

Game changing apps like the one above (at least it is to me) are coming to the iPhone 8. Thanks in part to Apple's AR Kit and ingenious developers.

Small correction, ARKit works on as little as iPhone 6s with reasonable accuracy.

Instagram glasses floating around the person and other shitty stuff are more AR than Pokémon.

Somewhat relevant, here's the researcher who made the Super Marios Bros. AR talking about what went into making it. The title references Unity3D but he spends very little time on the game engine. To me, the more interesting parts are about the challenges of using the Hololens outdoors over a relatively large area.


original video: Super Mario Bros Recreated as Life Size Augmented Reality Game https://youtu.be/QN95nNDtxjo

I think industrial uses of AR will be bigger than games. Showing people where to find parts, bringing up additional data, comparing what you see with what you're supposed to be seeing... all that would be highly useful.

Bringing up Pokemon GO and the AR games that didn't happen in this time and point in history is a bit weird - Apple's announcement kinda prepares to bring AR to the mainstream by giving everyone with their hardware a competent, stable platform for that, coming this September. When the market is provided for the taking and a platform behind it, in my opinion, developers will flock to create just those applications.

But, I mean, a year from now? Maybe if adoption doesn't pick up by then let's ask the same question and see what conclusions we can draw.

AR has been around for quite a while, but it won't kick off like VR will. I tried a few Hololens 'experiences' and the only thing I remotely enjoyed was leaving basically a notepad window on my cube wall. The "Games" really don't break the immersion levels like VR does. If I saw a bird fly at me in AR, I wouldn't flinch, but seeing a bird fly at my in VR may cause me head to weave a bit.

A rare internet comment that is the inverse of the now, cliche "VR is niche and AR will be (or is... if you consider pokemon go AR) mainstream" AR needs to get a lot better before its immersive, and there might be limits to displays that make true hard AR impossible or unlikely. I think most of the mainstream use cases that people imagine for AR are pretty basic, ie text and icon overlays over video, so immersion isn't viewed as an important aspect. In the context of games I think it's hard to design a good AR game because you don't have control over the environment the player is in. It does open up a lot of fun location based ideas though. I also kind of like the idea of hybrid physical digital games although those will always be niche due to costs and setup friction.

Ignoring immersivity etc., the sheer number of people who can partake in AR vs VR means that AR will kick off hugely more than VR.

AR can be used practically anywhere, by almost anyone, on a consumer-level phone. VR, by contrast, requires a fixed space, a certain amount of physical wellness, and expensive equipment.

Totally self-promoting here... But I'm making a new location-based game right now called Terra Mango. Instead of some buildings being pokestops or gyms, every building in the real world is intractable.

We're not using the camera for AR at all though. It's only AR because where you are in the real world determines what you can interact with in the game.

AR won't be worthwhile until:

1) It has a window to the AR larger than a wallet

2) It doesn't hog one of my hands for holding said window into the AR

3) Actually takes into consideration the the environment it's supposed to augment

Decent AR technology will probably be branched from current VR technologies, rather than mobile phones.

Where were the genuine World of Warcraft alternatives a few years later? Sometimes a big hit is just a big hit in itself and not a genre creator.

If you swap Everquest or Ultima Online for Warcraft in your question, then you have your hits that the were genre creators, and the alternatives that arrived a few years later (Warcraft, Eve Online, Club Penguin, Guild Wars, D&D Online, etc...)

Or if you want to focus on Warcraft as the big hit that popularized the genre, then we can see that the secondary MMOs of today are over 10x size of the biggest MMO pre-Warcraft (Everquest peaked at around 600k subscriber, Elder Scrolls Online has over 8 million). No one game has been as big as WoW, but it did grow the overall market massively.

Pass the paywall: https://t.co/z5MeavGpkg

How did you do that?

AR is waiting for Apple to truly invent it.

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