Nintendo has finally made its grand entry to the mobile app gaming world by launching Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game which uses GPS and Google maps to place Pokémon in the real world. Augmented reality is far from new, however, it wasn’t until the launch of Pokémon that AR went mainstream. The household brand name of Pokémon and the fact that the public is now more aware of augmented reality created a perfect storm for its adoption.
Augmented reality - the use of technology to superimpose digital creations onto one’s physical world - used to be predominantly focused on industrial applications.
Many doubted whether this type of technology would get mainstream acceptance as many consumers showed resistance to wearing augmented reality headsets during the course of the day, as evidenced by the cold response received by Alphabet Inc.’s Google Glass.
Enter Pokémon. Back in the 90's, kids grew up playing Pokémon video games on their Game Boy and watching Pokémon cartoons and movies. You had to travel to fantasy lands, capture Pokémon and train them to indulge in a cartoon cock-fight. The fame of Pokémon led to spawning a successful empire of movies, toys, cards and more!
The popularity of the Pokémon brand as well as the public’s growing awareness of augmented reality helped transform it from a technological curiosity to a widely accepted application. The success of Pokémon Go serves as an opening to what will be a much more interactive augmented reality experience in the next few years as developers create applications that will be seamlessly integrated into a user’s real world.