Our Apple overlords are set to reveal their next technological gift to us on September 12: the iPhone 8. While rumors run rampant about an OLED screen, a credit threatening price, and facial recognition features, the most important feature for gamers has already been confirmed - augmented reality.
If that term sounds a bit Black Mirror, don't panic, you've probably already used it. The mix of real world and game is what drives the compulsive collecting of Pokemon Go. The creator of that game, Niantic, has already been confirmed as one of the developers using Apple's ARKit augmented reality technology.
"For Pokemon GO, ARKit allows us to further enhance the feeling of interacting with Pokemon in the real world," says Phil Keslin, CTO and co-founder of Niantic. "We delivered on that initial promise last year at launch and we’re excited to expand the experience even further."
And remember that The Walking Dead: Our World game that recently went viral? That's also made possible with Apple's ARKit ."The point of AR is to enhance the real world you're in. AR technology provides an new perspective, or window to your reality or the current situation you are in," says Saara Bergström, chief marketing officer at Next Games. "From a mobile games perspective, AR technology has huge storytelling potential by being able to map gameplay we’re familiar with into our personal, real-world context. This will quite fundamentally change how we feel about the content when it’s added on top of our personal reality."
It's also exciting to think about the potential for the future. Me? I'd like to see a haunted house game where you hold up your phone to see ghosts in your own apartment. Like Fatal Frame, but with selfies.
"We are going to see a lot of experiments with AR in the next 12 months. This is only the beginning though, and as technology evolves, we will see more and more immersive executions," says Bergström. "When devices become capable of quickly scanning your environment in its entirety, the real world can actually become a 3D model, used in a game for example. In these scenarios, the augmented world would be quite indistinguishable from the real world."
Niantic sees Apple embracing the tech as a great thing for augmented reality, offering the people who play games, and the people who make them, a world of exciting possibilities.
"ARKit feels like the first step in democratizing AR. Developers are excited to prototype unique AR experiences in low cost and interesting ways," adds Keslin. "We’ll see a lot more experimentation. ARKit allows for new and interesting approaches for content, storytelling and ways to learn."
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Images: AMC, Apple and The Pokemon Company