Augmented Reality (AR), the blending of virtual elements with the physical world, is not new technology. It’s been employed in poorly received heads-up displays for passenger vehicles and the helmets of F-35 fighter pilots. It has even made a small segue into the consumer world in the form of Snapchat filters, which allow users to take video of themselves overlaid with digital animations.
While Pokemon Go’s AR engine is certainly not fantastic—its digital elements often seem sloppily superimposed over the real world, and they do not interact with physical objects—the game has undeniably vaulted the entire concept into the public consciousness in a big way and in a very short amount of time.
There are probably many attempts to replicate this success already underway, although the sheer scale of the game’s success can likely be attributed more to the popularity of the Pokemon brand than anything else (as evidenced by the fact that nobody has ever heard of Ingress).
Given the vast amount of money that we now know is in play, it can only be a matter of time before we see the advent of AR-specific gaming platforms which do not currently exist. Perhaps it’s time for Google Glass to make a comeback?