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Pokemon Go's popularity proves consumers are AR-ready

Azadeh Williams | July 12, 2016
Experts agree the gaming app’s popularity is proof consumers are receptive to AR technology

CEO of Australia's first listed mobile gaming company, Animoca Brands, Robby Yung, saw the app as the 'Angry Birds' moment for AR and geotagging.

"Just like Angry Birds taught people to swipe in games, Pokemon Go has all the right ingredients to show that augmented reality and geotagging is ready for prime time," he said. "This will open up people to adopting all kinds of augmented reality, provided it's executed well. So expect lots of imitators."

The race for social media giants to stay ahead

While AR won't become the norm overnight, experts agree consumers will want more of this level of customer engagement and noted social media giants like Twitter and Facebook are already acting fast in adopting the technology's offerings.

"Companies need to take this warning bell seriously, and recognise this wave of excitement isn't just about Pokemon but about an impressive new way of leveraging digital technology to engage with consumers," Merrick said. "Companies like Twitter and Facebook really should be leading this movement because they already have a mass market. I can foresee something simple like AR conferencing calls being the first step for a company like Facebook, for example."

Creative technologist and head of Asia Pacific at Zappar, David Francis, pointed out Twitter has just hired a new head of AR. Facebook, meanwhile, is already one of the world's biggest acquirers of AR companies.

"They are not just thinking about it, they are razor-focused on it," Francis claimed. "Mark Zuckerberg never omits mentioning AR beside VR as the next stage of Facebook's evolution. Of course, Snapchat's $150m acquisition of a Ukrainian AR company to create its new AR 'filters' has more than paid off.

"Everyone in this industry is also mindful that no-one has secured more talent and top AR companies than Apple. All the biggest social and technology companies are rethinking their platforms for an augmented world. At some point very soon, brands in almost every vertical will have to do the same."

Amobee's A/NZ sales director, Henrik Isaakson, said the industry has only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AR.

"Even stronger economic forces will get behind technologies like this, which will result in bridging the gap between consumers and retail possibilities, facial recognition activated systems, navigation and news ways of communicating," he said.

Curry saw Nintendo's success as evidence that the technology has been greatly underutilised.

"As VR and AR technologies and implementations continue to improve and become more popular, more publishers will start to integrate them into their own apps and games," he said.

But as with any new entry into the mobile games sphere, Pokémon Go's long-term effect will be dependent on improvements that keep users engaged, Curry said.

 

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