Pokémon Go - Into Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality 

Pokémon Go was released earlier in July 2016, by Niantic and offers an incredible look into the early world of mixed reality and the economic and social power of this new technology. The game has become a smash hit around the world since launch, although a recent update has shown that not every dive into a new reality is without its initial challenges!

The game explores an existing trend in Virtual Reality development over the past few years which has been to prepare our favorite device's hardware for a leap into the virtual, augmented, and mixed reality content of the future. While the technical capability of our devices continues to progress, applications are starting to push the boundary of what our technology is really capable of today. What exactly is mixed reality?

Mixed Reality is the merging of real world and virtual worlds to produce a new environment where physical and digital objects can co-exist and interact. A mix of augmented reality and virtual reality.
— edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Mixed_reality

With the recent announcement of Google's Daydream platform, the future looks even brighter for software integration of virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. Pokemon Go is paving the way with a worldwide craze that has transformed our phones and brought the beloved sci-fi game to life.

In Pokémon Go, players are tasked with linking their android or iOS mobile phone's GPS services with the game servers which will allow for randomized spawns of certain digital monsters called Pokémon. Whenever the app is open and the player is close to local landmarks, commercial centers, parks, and even natural formations they have a chance to stumble upon these wild digital creatures! So what does this latest app-craze mean for a technological society on the edge of accepting virtual reality and augmented reality into their daily lives ?

While gamification of our digital and social interaction is nothing new, at OSSIC we think that this latest entry into the VR/AR/MR content bubble will shake things up! Facebook and other game focused app platforms already know how to leverage your social connections under the guise of a fun mobile app or game which has allowed us to play with friends and family seamlessly, regardless of their location or primary language. The next obvious step is to promote mixed reality as a technology that can add digital features to the real world while enhancing the experience. 

Pokémon Go is not powerful for its ability to connect users digitally through forced social interaction, inversely it's the games ability to connect people socially through digital interaction. 

The game has already captured the hearts and minds of millions, and the real world is feeling the ripple from this digital tidal wave of mixed reality Pokémon. The only question that remains is, "Can you catch them all?"

The Poké-Impact

While mobile gaming continues to claw out huge market shares of entertainment, users are always looking for that next big intellectual property. Niantic and the Pokemon Company were able to show that millennial interests can translate into massive use of new technology based on nothing more than nostalgia. Pokémon Go was the #1 most downloaded app during it's launch week, and it continues to break records with concurrent users, and new downloads weekly.

The game offers the public the rare ability to interact through a mixed reality interface, while maintaining normal social interaction associated with daily mobile use. Thus, giving the first inkling of a modern society that relies even more on digital technology for social interaction.

As other artificial overlays are created to add more digital content throughout the real world, virtual, augmented and mixed reality will continue to push boundaries and connect people in ways that just 20 years ago would have seemed like science fiction; a world that could only be described through a pixelated video game. 

Stay tuned to the OSSIC blog for more news about immersing technology that will only work to bring us closer both socially and digitally!