Augmented Reality (AR) is a fun addition to a game like Pokémon GO, but it honestly doesn't enhance the experience much beyond getting a laugh out of making an Abra sit on a toilet. Niantic wants to map the world in AR, which will presumably make for a much richer and more immersive AR experience in Pokemon Go and other Niantic games.
Niantic CEO John Hanke talked to Reuters last week about the company's plans for AR mapping. "We want players to build out the game board they want to play on," he said. Currently, AR tech can insert a digital Pokemon onto a landscape, but the Pokemon can't interact with that landscape in a meaningful way. AR mapping might change that because it'd theoretically let Niantic use a mapped-out park or field or whatever as a foundation. From there, the company could build virtual structures for Pokemon to interact with.
Hanke said mapping will start with some public spaces like parks and plazas, but he didn't specify when. Niantic bought AR start-up Escher Reality this year, which indicates the developer is serious about cooking up ways to better implement augmented reality in its games.
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