Augmented reality gaming is something many have already heard of – probably a few years ago when Pokémon Go craze took the world by storm. Back then, hundreds of players went outside to capture Pokémon, defend Gyms and complete raids. AR gaming is a relatively new form of gameplay that continues to develop with ever improving hardware technologies. It overlays a real environment with virtual objects that the player can interact, creating an immersive experience without a need for specialized equipment such as a VR headset. This technology has been around for years struggling to gain traction but with a slow yet steady rise in technological advancements, it seems like one of possible future gaming levels.
image from pokemongolive.com
What it offers
When it comes to AR gaming, it provides an immersive and interactive experience to the player. Changing the world around while still retaining connection with reality and people. As the technology advances and 5G is starting to roll out, the AR experience is expected to become much better. Lower, unnoticeable latency and higher data bandwidth is supposed to allow having far more dynamic overlays on top of real life view. Besides that, with decrease of latency, a whole new world of possibilities opens up, with AR shooters leading the way.
Main areas of improvement
Shooter game genre is one of the most popular in the gaming space, involving competition, self-improvement and team work. Yet shooters, as most action and open-world games, share the same downside – the player being stuck in front of the screen, just looking into their avatar running around. While this is acceptable for some, other players want to experience surroundings themselves. Of course, there is VR, but its equipment and hardware requirements are not suitable for everyone’s budget.
image by cottonbro
Bringing AR to shooters, action and open-world games is a world-changing experience. Suddenly, the player’s surroundings become the game environment, with the player’s physical body being the avatar itself. Dynamically changing scenes that tailor real world objects and places allows to almost limitless gaming experience. The only limit remains player’s desire to move. With that being said, AR gaming is highly suitable for children – it incorporates physical exercise with the fun of games, gamifying the maintenance of their health. And without a doubt, that works for adults too – gamification is a strong motivation for gamers to get up from the couch and go outside to touch some grass.
Currently, almost every AR game blindly overlays the surroundings with anything it needs to show. It is an effective yet rather lazy way to add interactive element to the game, making player feel connected to the surrounding world.
By incorporating AI into AR gaming, it is possible to get a gaming experience that actually uses objects of the surrounding environment for interactions. As examples, this could an AR shooter, that understands that the other player is hiding behind the car, making it impossible to shoot them. Undoubtedly, AI is required to make AR games real competitors for normal games and stay in the mainstream market. It is definitely a challenge, but this could be the step to AR gaming success.
With everything being said
AR still feels almost as an unreal technology, fusing real and virtual worlds together. There is still a way to go to create AR games that can compete with classic ones. But with advancements in AI and hardware – it can become the future. AR gaming may very well be the future of gaming, together with other fields, including schooling and exercising. It is a technology, that can finally connect both worlds, real and virtual.
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