SLAM tracking augmented reality” (CC BY 2.0) by sndrv

After all the excitement following the release of Pokémon Go back in the Summer of 2016, there were many predictions that there would soon be an avalanche of AR games. But now, some four years later, we’re still waiting to be presented with another game that is anywhere near replicating the success of Pikachu and friends.

Perhaps that’s because it’s the growth of virtual reality that may have been the focus of many people’s attention. However, in a piece of research called Ready, Steady, Game carried out by ericsson.com, it seems like there is a great appetite out there for AR games, an appetite that is far from being satisfied.

Over 7,000 gamers from the UK, Brazil, China, France, Japan, South Korea, and America were interviewed and around 66% of them said they’d be interested in playing more AR games. Among the players already enjoying the world of AR gaming, around 60% said that it was the immersive nature of the games that they found most appealing. However, a third of this particular group said that using a hand-held mobile device to play them could not provide a satisfying experience.

Almost half also commented that what was needed was a larger selection of high-quality games combined with more affordable tech, such as AR glasses and longer-lasting batteries to make the player experience a better one.

So there is obviously a huge potential for both game developers and tech manufacturers to respond to this demand which is driven by the gamers’ typical desire for novelty. And it’s not just traditional gaming that could stand to benefit. Other entertainment sectors such as online casinos could see their fortunes transformed by the inclusion of AR. One only has to look at a site like bonusfinder.com to see just how many operators there are all chasing new players. Currently one of their most powerful recruitment tools is using bonuses and other incentives. But the addition of AR elements would obviously provide the groundbreaking casinos with a clear advantage over the competition.

Location-based AR – Wikitude technology” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by WIKITUDE

This isn’t to say that there aren’t a number of great AR games out there already, just that none have quite captured the imagination in the way that Pokémon Go managed to achieve. This is because their scope tends to be quite limited. For example, when one considers WallaMe, this enables players to leave invisible messages on real walls which can only be seen by others who have the app installed on their phones or mobile devices. While this is undoubtedly fun and has introduced the concept of invisible graffiti to the world, it seems like it should be just one element of a far larger game.

But there is reason to hope that a great leap forward will occur soon, especially as Facebook has announced they will be releasing their first pairs of AR glasses in 2021.

With a big name like this stepping into the fray, it’s likely that many more will also soon be following suit.