A few years ago, Pokémon Go was massive. Herds of people roamed the city attempting to catch the elusive critters. Lately, Nintendo announced their first “open-world” Pokémon game and remasters of older ones. It looks like Pikachu and pals are heading for a bit of a renaissance; or did Pokémon Go never really leave?
A Whole New Set of Toys
The next step is a significant one: Niantic announced a partnership with Microsoft at Microsoft Ignite 2021. But they gave more than lip service, and showed off a proof-of-concept demo of Pokemon Go running on the newly announced Hololens 2.
Unfortunately, this demo is not for the public. Rather, it’s an attempt to show what the future holds for gaming and augmented reality. Microsoft Mesh, the descriptor for the telepresence/AR technology as opposed to the headset itself, looks to blend reality with the game world.
John Hancke, CEO of Niantic, said, “It’s a great opportunity for us to get in really early and work on this stuff…what Microsoft has not done much of with HoloLens…is outdoor stuff.” Could this be another way of getting your favourite couch potato out-and-about again?
Hancke was adamant about the already established Pokémon Go and the possibilities of a HoloLens one. “Holding up your phone and seeing through the screen is one thing, but when you have the headset on and the Pokémon are all around you, and they’re 12 feet tall, it’s just magical.”
Even the conference itself made use of the technology– Hanke beamed in from a park in San Francisco. The main goal moving forward is discovering how people will virtually interact. Considering Niantic also has a partnership with Punchdrunk, an immersive theatre company, it’s already in the process.
No matter what happens, the future is sure to bring some interesting experimentation within the AR/VR world. “This is a whole new set of toys.”
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