By Hannan Azhar
In just over two weeks, Pokémon Go has gone viral, capturing more than 20 million active users. It is now the biggest mobile game in the world, has surpassed Twitter in its number of daily users, with more time spent on it than Facebook. Children and young adults alike, who would otherwise stay indoors, now go outside to look for their favourite Pokemon!
The closest AR application that amounted to a useful tool was Volkswagen’s iPad app, which projects visual labels and instructions in real time to guide mechanic operators to fix car parts. When Pokémon Go made debut, critics sneered at its user interface, saying that the game should not even be qualified as AR. Immersive visuals are nonexistent. The graphics look rudimentary. However, it promises nothing more than a game, using your phone’s GPS to detect where you are and make digital monsters “appear” around you. Above all, it’s all free. So even though the servers crashed many times over, casual gamers still can’t get enough of their favorite pocket monsters, and have turned the game into a cultural phenomenon.
Yes, Pokémon may be a game for teens and millennials, but it has irrevocably changed societal expectations of what information is presented and how it is accessed. Technology improvement is never driven by mad scientists alone. They always need market support. So whether you’re an entrepreneur or the head of a multinational corporation, never dismiss a teenage passion as a mere toy. They may be simple customers who cannot pay much, but they are eager to try anything new. Augmented reality has a big future indeed.