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Pokémon GO and the Future of AR (Augmented Reality)

Pokémon GO garnered huge popularity in its earlier initial release. And, later on it became one of the most popular location-based videos games for mobile devices. The concept of the game was a successful collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo, through The Pokémon Company. But, Pokémon Go is more than just a game. It is has brought the new technology, Augmented reality, to more people through their mobile devices.

The game was hugely popular partly because it was so convenient to play. It utilized the mobile device’s GPS which helps the player locate, capture, fight and train the virtual characters of the game known as Pokémon. Not to mention, Pokémon is quite popular with kids and has been one of the favorite cartoon characters.

From the players to the critics everyone was awe with this popular game which brought the augmented reality within everyone’s reach.

What is the game about?

If you are not familiar with the game or haven’t started playing it yet, here is a quick overview of the game.

After downloading the app in your mobile device (phone, tablet or any other), you will need to create an account. One of the best things about the game is that it does not have options of choosing the gender. Instead, you can choose the style. You can create and customize your own unique avatar anyway you like. Since it’s a location-based game, your avatar will be displayed on the map based on your geographical location.

The game map has many interesting things and will help you navigate in the real world as well. The features of the map include 'PokéStops' which is a kind of shop or store where the players can buy eggs, Poke balls, berries and potions. You need to be in motion, in other words keep moving in the real world in order to play the game and these PokéStops are located on the virtual map on the exact location of a real building like a shop or gym in the real world. This means that you have to be on the location to get stuff from the PokéStops. Likewise there is 'Pokémon gyms' where a battle takes place for the king of the hill matches.

The players need to move in the real world to play the game. With your movement your avatars will also move on the game map like you in the real world. One of the key features of the Pokémon GO is the appearance of the Pokémon in Augment Reality mode. You can also choose to see the Pokémon in a generic background. The AR mode utilizes the camera and gyroscope on the mobile devices to display the image of Pokémon like it was in the real world. The players can earn points and acquire powers with features like in-game currencies: candies and stardust. The game ends when the player captures all the original 151 Pokémon mentioned in the Pokédex, a comprehensive Pokémon encyclopedia.

Influence of the Game

The Augmented Reality of the game made it such a popular game. The feel of the virtual character in the real world had players getting totally engrossed in the game.

The greatest impact of the game was how it bought people together in a “social gathering”. Its mention on the social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram brought people from different walks of life together and created a kind of bonding. Some of the positive benefits of the game include increase in local business with the players visiting the local stores which grew in numbers. Likewise, the influx of the people in places like historical locations also had a positive impact. Visit to some of the places in the community also increased. The local business enjoyed more benefits due to the fact that some of the PokéStops were actually located on the location of the real stores. This gave them a boost.

While the positive effect of the game was good news, there were some negative stories as well. People suffered various injuries as they were so engrossed in the game. Some of the locations for the PokéStops enraged people. People also complained about the large gatherings in the premises. In some parts of the world the huge gatherings due to the game led to traffic interruptions.

The Augmented Reality and Pokémon Go

Pokémon GO popularized augmented reality. Augmented Reality is the future there is no doubt. The devices such as smartphones and tablets have made it possible for the general public to access such technology.

So, what is Augment Reality (AR)?

In simple terms, Augment Reality is a new technology that helps create an environment where you cannot differentiate between what is real and what is computer generated. This is achieved by enhancing or by manipulating the way we see, smell and feel and perceive the object.

The future of the Augmented Reality is really bright as soon it will become a common thing. The video games like Pokémon GO have given the example of how the AR can influence our day to day life. The AR will bring the experience to you no matter where you are. Just like Google Glass, the other devices too will be able to create a world where you can actually feel the virtual things and objects. Informative graphics and audio will seamlessly coincide with what you see and hear. It will be a virtual reality but with more reality in it.

Conclusion

Pokémon Go is more than just a game and Augmented Reality is more than just a technology. The game has won many hearts and has inspired a plethora of merchandise including apps and cools t-shirt designs. If you have not started playing the game yet you can give it a try and experience the Augmented Reality for yourself. Since AR is the future of how humans will interact with each other and their environment, it is safe to say that the future is here.

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