Now that Pokémon GO has caused augmented reality (AR) games to go mainstream, we've all compiled inner lists of other media properties we'd like to see as AR games. Interestingly, Niantic, the company behind Pokémon GO (and its predecessor, Ingress) has its own wishes for a dream AR project: A Game of Thrones title that maps out the fantasy land of Westeros across the real world.
Niantic employee Archit Bhargava revealed his wish to make a virtual Westeros in a Gamespot interview earlier this month. "My personal fantasy is like a Game of Thrones game where Westeros is mapped out on Earth and you join House Stark or whatever," he said. Bhargava also mentioned he'd love to see an AR version of the popular board game Risk.
Though Niantic will have its hands full with Pokémon GO for the foreseeable future, Game of Thrones (and the book series its based on, A Song of Ice and Fire) is one of a few AR properties that has a chance of rivaling Pokémon GO's popularity. Season six garnered over 25 million viewers – and that number only accounts for legitimate viewers, not torrents.
And, like Pokémon, Game of Thrones is a long-lived property. Author George R R Martin published the first Song of Ice and Fire book, A Game of Thrones, in 1996. The next two entries, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, are coming who-knows-when.
An AR game based on Game of Thrones would also potentially snag players who turn up their noses at Pokémon GO because it's "for kids." The Pokémon GO craze by itself has spawned a number of articles and memes about how players over the age of 18 need to grow up. There isn't much point in arguing with these people about Pokémon's universal appeal, as candy-colored dragons are simply a turn-off for anyone who believes they've outgrown make-believe.
Obviously, Game of Thrones has dragons, and it also contains a hefty dose of make-believe: White Walkers and giant wolves that are telepathically tied to their masters aren't any more real than Pikachu or Charizard. But since Game of Thrones also contains a lot of political intrigue, violence, and boobs, it seemingly passes unofficial markers that make it OK for adult consumption. As a consequence, the Pokémon GO naysayers may be fine with the idea of running around and lobbing some kind of lure at virtual direwolves.
I'm not putting down fans of Game of Thrones, mind you. It'd be pretty sweet to team up with dozens or hundreds of fans to try and take down an AR version of a mountain-sized dragon like Balerion the Black Dread. Niantic should act carefully, though. If there is ever a point in time when Pokémon GO and Game of Thrones GO both exist, we could be looking at the collapse of human productivity as we know it.