It was Pokémon GO that first made the world aware of the potentially transformative impact of Augmented Reality (AR) in the gaming domain. This hugely popular mobile game, launched in 2016, blurred the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds.
And Augmented Reality is just that, a space where the reality that surrounds us is enhanced, and our real-life experiences get amplified. What AR in games does is take virtual objects and implant them into everyday scenarios, to come up with an experience that mimics life. It’s as immersive as life can get.
In a nutshell, a game built on AR is one in which visual and audio content is assimilated into a user’s real-time location. In other words, an imaginary, digital universe is overlaid on an existing environment. This is in contrast to virtual reality (VR) games, which require an autonomous space (and headsets) to offer a similar experience.
No game developer has been able to emulate the success of Pokémon GO but with affordable and accessible technology now emerging, tech that allows for extra features and options to be added to games, AR in gaming will likely go mainstream while making the user’s experience even better and more mesmerising.
Artificial intelligence, for one, has been key in transforming AR gaming from an unchallenging and sedentary activity powered by only the most basic components, to a dynamic, multi-sensory and multi-environment experience.
What Augmented Reality has brought to gaming is an experience that is participatory and seamless as well as occasionally psychedelic and absorbingly interactive, enabling the user to enter a world little different from her own but in which physically and ambience-wise, the senses are heightened. In any game, you are the protagonist though your avatar can change according to the situation, and can flit in and out of the real and virtual realms.
AR has also democratised gaming in that women are as much avid—and skilled—users as are the men, and neither your age nor social status matter when it comes to seeking immersion in this universe. Just as sport once did and continues to do, gaming has become a leisure pursuit for anyone and everyone.
And unlike VR games, AR games do not demand any additional equipment. All that is required is your smartphone and a connection, and you’re set to play games on the go. Also, because it enables you to engage with your immediate environment—and people around you, too—you’re not stuck in one place but ‘moving around’. Look at it as fun and fitness combined.
With the rollout of 5G, AR games promise to take the user to a place where she’s never been. Expect more dynamic 3D experiences to captivate your senses. An AR game, in fact, feels more real when you are engaging with the action on your screen as well as with your physical environs, all at the same time. Indeed, your surroundings, whether urban or natural, are as much a part of the game as the in-game elements.
Hence, AR in games offers an experience that is more true-to-life, thus drawing the user into the game, and retaining their interest. Patently, a creation built on 3D content will be far more appealing (and thrilling) to the gamer than one relying on 2D. This is why many big tech players in the space are tapping AR, to take the gaming experience to the next level.
There has been no more game-changing development in the world of gaming than AR.
The article has been written by Dmitry Belianin, Chief Commercial Officer, Parimatch International