Why Pokémon Go Makes Augmented Reality Legit
Pokémon Go has taken the mobile world by storm. Segments run daily on major television news shows, posts and tweets appear every few minutes, and well, you probably downloaded it, or know somebody who did. A friend or colleague may even have walked into your office to catch a monster. If nothing else, Pokémon Go will raise awareness of augmented reality. Yes, its a game and all the business people say games are but a small part of the potential for AR. But here’s the thing: Even the imaginations of people simply exposed to the game will start to rev. People will map their issues onto Pokémon Go and say, “Gee, if they can do that with a Pokémon go, why can’t we do something like that with a taco or car.”
The Pokémon phenomenon landed a couple of weeks ago, but it swept in on a whirlwind of hype. Money jingle in not just from in-app purchases by Niantic and Nintendo, but before the hype clears, marketing partnerships will rack up increased sales of goods and services. Niantic is going to ride their Pokémon revival like angry birds to a pig slaughter. In the meantime, Angry Birds creator Rovio is probably sitting in Finland trying to figure out whey they didn’t drop the background artist and create games that let people fling birds at virtual pigs running around their homes (I’m betting that’s on its way now).
This isn’t the augmented reality that people have been promised, but as I’ve pointed out before, mobile AR offers the most viable and accessible form of AR. Mobile AR will likely dominate the market while various firms play with glasses, even for people who don’t need glasses. Mobile devices are already a thing, and this game proves that people are more than willing to use them for AR if the app creates the right kind of engagement. Years ago the monocle feature in Yelp introduced an early instance of AR on the iPhone. Pokémon Go, if nothing else, is going to drive a lot of money into mobile AR investment which will likely result in at least a few more interesting instances of the tech, some of which might even prove more useful than entertaining.
Here is a sampling of the reporting and commentary about Pokémon Go from major news sources:
- Pokémon Go Will Make You Crave Augmented Reality, The New Yorker
- Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to a Mass Audience – New York Times
- Is Pokemon Go Really Augmented Reality? – Scientific American
- Augmented Reality Gets Boost From Success of ‘Pokémon Go’ – Wall Street Journal
- Pokémon GO hunting goes wrong, shows how augmented reality can be dangerous, bgr
- Pokemon Go users find everything from dates to dead bodies, Global News
Pokémon Go isn’t the lone entry in mobile AR gaming. Other games include: Ingress, Real Strike, Life is Crime, Zombies, Run! and Parallel Kingdom MMO.
P.S., I do worry every time I see I see a game go viral that we are just moments away from falling prey to “The Game” that took control of the Enterprise crew in Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Five, Episode Six, perhaps one of the most disturbing Star Trek episodes ever.
The Weekly Digest
Serious Insights Commentary: I completely agree with Huawei Technologies and ZTE that 5G mobile will boost AR and VR opportunities, but there are many places where both technologies can reasonably expect access to high-bandwidth Wi-Fi regardless of the cellular technology in place. I don’t think Starbucks would mind being the place people bring their phones to put on headsets as long as the purveyors of VR drink coffee and eat bagels in-between sessions. Of course, the two Chinese tech giants also know that by 2020 several technologies from batteries, to sensors to displays will also be even better than they are today, making 5G maturity the item, perhaps, that tips the scales toward commercial viability across spectrums.
Why you will see augmented reality at work before in your home, EnterpriseAppsTech
Serious Insights Commentary: This article has its heart and head in the right place, it just decided to position the insights as a forecast… and Pokémon Go ran right through the right and left ventricles of its argument. Yes, AR will be big in the workplace eventually, but it may be more about mobile than glasses. While the pundits who are really out there perceive AR as a social movement we will live in, therefore changing the way we see ourselves, the other perspective places AR as just another technological achievement that will simply change how we see our environment and things in it when we decide there is value in augmenting that environment and its stuff.
Serious Insights Commentary: “So, what exactly is virtual reality struggling to master? Its customer appeal.” Spot on. If you make VR products, the first item on any presentation, web page or list of talking points better be: what need does this product satisfy? Is VR a better reality than reality? Is VR a better reality than reality with AR? If so, how, and don’t just talk theory, demonstrate the value with code that is more than a demo.
Observation of the week
How Weed Improves Virtual Reality, Inverse.
Serious Insights Commentary: A trip down a winding road with a good buzz to abate nausea leads Jacqueline Ronson to conclude: “This is why marijuana and VR are natural bedfellows and future amigos in awesomeness. Not only can weed make virtual reality less uncomfortable, it could also potentially make it more fun.“ It may be weed, it may be limiting FOV or a wrist strap. Whatever works for you to abate nausea. Chances are other solutions to motion sickness won’t add to the fun.
Serious Insights Commentary: Envelop VR has launched its platform that will bring Windows apps into VR. Envelop for Windows eliminates the need to leave VR perform work. It also enhances that work by creating limitless spaces for organization workflows. The SDK allows developers to inject data into the VR space, connected to the traditional app, but independently processed to maintain VR performance. This means CAD drawings and BI charts will render in full 90-fps VR regardless of app performance by handing off the rendering and tracking to Envelop for Windows. It will be interesting to see what developers do with this capability. (Note: Envelop VR has been, or is, a Serious Insights client).
Virtual Reality: New Experiments at Purdue University, Engineering.com
Serious Insights Commentary: Deep learning helps teach systems how to improve hand tracking.
Virtual reality surgical system coming to Rush OB/GYN residency, Chicago Sun Times
Serious Insights Commentary: Surgery as practice. Skills that require muscle mastery will be an important category for VR. Key will be instruments that are or feel like the real tools. The field-of-view may mimic the real world, but if the instruments used in VR prove significantly different, skilled workers, like surgeons, will need to translate between training and the real world. That result in second-guessing and slow responses, which can be life or productivity threatening.
Will your next meeting be on the holodeck? SAP’s new CIO wants to make it so, CNBC
Serious Insights Commentary: Well, it won’t be my next meeting, but collaboration and communications will be another killer category for VR. That category, however, will require the right design for a big payoff. I’m betting there will be dozens of attempts, including attempts by big companies like SAP (and Cisco, and Microsoft and SalesForce, etc.) before the market figures out what works and what doesn’t, and a leader emerges. I’ll give this a decade before it shakes out. Experimentation starts now.
Company battle to watch
Facebook (FB) and Snapchat in AR sharing. See Is This Facebook’s Biggest Augmented Reality Threat? at Motley Fool.