Pokémon GO and Augmented Reality

Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere up in the mountains, I’m sure you’ve heard of Pokémon GO. This mobile game wins the hearts of children and adults alike by reintroducing fond memories from childhood. Pokémon GO, built by Niantic Labs, utilises Augmented Reality (AR), a technology that blends real world environment with digital assets.

This method of compositing multiple objects in the same environment dates back to 1977 in the first Star Wars movie. AR has gone a long way, now allowing consumers to interact with these digital assets through sensors on smartphones.

The Role of Augmented Reality in Videos

Videos as a medium, continue to play a significant role in a future where AR is certain. Hyper-Reality is a video by Keiichi Matsuda that portrays the future where everyone consumes information and interacts through AR. They are bombarded with endless streams of advertisement and commercials that interact with the surrounding. Check out the video below:

Hyper-Reality and the then-failed Google Glass may indicate that AR is out of reach for everyday consumers. However, the advent of Pokémon GO and its popularity have suggested otherwise. You may argue it is the Pokémon franchise that makes the game popular. Partly true – it is also the ease of AR adoption and for many, the first-hand AR experience that Pokémon GO introduces. This is an early indication of massive AR development in the way brands and consumers communicate.

One of the fastest brands to capitalise on the success of Pokémon GO is McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan). They turn 3,000 restaurants in this tech-savvy country into “Poke-stops” or “Gyms”, in-game points of interest that players can interact with. At these places, players, or Pokémon trainers as the game developers call it, can connect with the company both in-game and in reality.

The retail and F&B industries in the U.S. are also quick to catch up with the trend, offering players discounts at restaurants or retail outlets. Businesses are now able to place contextual, interactive ads that are more relevant to consumers, usually through animated videos to capture attention. Advertising in augmented reality doesn’t seem too far off now, does it?