Pokemon GO: Has Augmented Reality Grown Bigger Than Virtual Reality?

When the year 2016 started, we started to see major growth in the virtual reality (VR) sector of the tech industry. Brands started releasing VR headsets and companies started to use them in different ways. Virtual reality became the major highlight of this year until Pokemon GO arrived and changed everything.

Launched more than a week ago, Pokemon GO has been rolled out officially in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the US. The game will be released slowly all over the globe while the developer Niantic is trying to resolve server issues caused by massive traffic overload. That’s the crazy response the game received from even the non-Pokemon fans.

Download millions of times in just a few days, Pokemon GO app has already beaten Tinder and will soon surpass Twitter app’s number of daily active users. Never was there such a craze for any mobile app as this one. But why? Well, the game uses augmented reality (AR) as its working mechanism.

pikachu in pokemon go

So what is augmented reality and how does it work with this game? As suggested by the name, the game uses reality to progress through levels. So first you create an account and an avatar in the game, and then the game keeps a check on your location via GPS and A-GPS. It tracks you wherever you go, and you can see your avatar moving on the on-screen map in the app.

There are several “PokeStops” spread around the city, and in different places, you will find Pokemon indicated on the map. When you are around a Pokemon, your phone will notify you. Just walk to the Pokemon’s location using the map and tap on it. You will see that the Pokemon appears on the screen right on the real ground around it. You then have to throw a Pokeball to catch the creature.

This way, you have to catch Pokemon and battle against other Pokemon trainers to become the ultimate champion. Sweet! And it is very, very engaging and interesting. It requires you to walk to locations, so there’s a very good excuse for exercising. Also, when searching for Pokemon in Pokemon GO, you will reach different PokeStops and will find other players, helping you meet and connect with new people.

So why is Pokemon GO so exciting? Because it uses the reality. It places stops and Pokemon creatures in the real world for you to find, making you feel like the Pokemon world really exists. This makes augmented reality bigger than virtual reality. Because in VR, you are sitting or standing in one place while a software does everything for you. But in AR, things get more exciting as you need to go out in the real world to interact with the content.

virtual reality vs pokemon go
Image credits: http://www.siliconbeat.com/

And Pokemon GO is just the beginning. We are sure augmented reality is going to be a bigger giant than the VR as more and more brands are investing in it. Imagine a social media in AR, or an AR gym app that needs you to exercise to progress in the game. The uses are practically endless. Augmented reality is the future!

What’s your say on this? Comment below.