As of now, Apple’s augmented reality glasses are still rumored to be on the way, with some still suggesting they’ll be released this coming fall. Whenever they do come, they’re sure to usher in a wave of mobile-based AR glasses, and the assumption, increasingly, is that they’ll be used for far more than gaming. There are numerous practical applications being discussed, from navigation to DIY assistance, such that we may ultimately look at AR glasses more as essential tools of everyday life, rather than gadgets for gaming and entertainment.
Even if this is the case though, AR glasses will also be looked to for their potential to revive a stalled out AR gaming category on mobile devices. When AR was first realized on phones, through Pokémon GO and some of the early games on ARKit and ARCore, it seemed as if we were on the precipice of a whole new type of gaming. But not too much exciting has happened since.
These are some of the ways in which AR glasses may help.
Pokémon GO is actually a fine example here, as is the “Snapshot” follow-up to it. These games allow us to welcome Pokémon into our world and are among the most enjoyable AR games to play. However, they also feel somewhat gimmicky, because we essentially know in advance where to point our phones in order to see Pokémon. Because the screens are so limited, we have to more or less have these locations in order to make the whole concept work. Glasses could stand to improve these games and others like them simply by expanding the augmented environment. There will be a more natural and less pre-planned feeling to spotting Pokémon in our real-world surroundings.
A good example here might be a card or slot game out of the casino category. We’ve seen this genre evolve from something fairly simple and unexciting into something far more dynamic, with popular favorite titles available online and on mobile alike. And we’ve seen some of these games – individual card and slot arcades – put into virtual and augmented reality. However, when you have to hold your phone up to look at a poker table or slot machine, or any similar game, actually performing simple actions like playing a card or pulling a lever becomes artificial. With AR glasses this problem could be solved simply because people will have free hands, and games will be designed to interact with sensors, controllers, or phones being held.
Easily Imagined Shooters
The idea of a good AR shooter is essentially a combination of the two points just made. As with an expanded Pokémon GO, a full environment will be subject to augmentation, meaning the bad guys can come from all angles. And as with casino and card games, hands will be freed up for action – which will probably mean people’s mobile phones function as arcade firearms to facilitate shooters. We mention this as its own category simply because shooters are almost always among the most popular games in any medium, and good ones would help to bring a lot of attention to AR mobile entertainment.
Full Scope On Tabletops
Tabletop gaming is one of the most promising categories in AR. In fact, tabletop entertainment in general has gotten very interesting; last summer an article even came out about developers putting real football matches onto tabletops though AR. However – you guessed it – using your phone to look at displays like this, or play games in a similar format, is almost cripplingly inconvenient. The notion that a board game, tabletop strategy game, or even sports game can be played out in a 3D animation in this manner is incredibly exciting, but the potential won’t be fully realized until glasses give us the full scope of a table without having to look through our phones.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.