Why Pokémon Go Belongs on the Apple Watch
Pokemon Go on the Apple Watch
By now it seems that almost everyone has heard of Pokémon Go whether it be through social media, online news sources/articles or word of mouth.
But if you don't know what it is, then think of it as an interactive Snapchat filter. Your goal is to capture these tiny creatures called Pokémon within your real world environment using GPS tracking.
Within the mobile app, you see your character placed in a Google maps world with various landmarks and buildings based on your location. When you see a Pokémon (pocket monster) nearby, you click on it and suddenly it arrives within your live camera view.
You toss fictional Pokéballs to try to capture the Pokémon, which you can then level up, evolve, transfer for candy currency, and use to battle at Pokémon gyms represented by nearby places.
Pokemon in Real Life
This is the type of game where seeing is believing and no amount of explaining will make sense to someone who has no idea what Pokémon are, what augmented reality is, and what this game's mechanics are.
It's important to understand what augmented reality is because this game is the first widespread unveiling of mixed reality.
Many already know what virtual reality is because we've heard about it since the 1990's and products like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have been spotlighted to consumers and the public.
- Augmented reality is newer than virtual reality but it's not an alien concept.
More people have witnessed mixed reality than they realize with products like Google Glass and various furniture apps that allow you to place and see virtual items in your home.
Augmented reality puts fictional objects in the real world, but unlike virtual reality, it doesn't remove your environment. Think of it as placing holograms around you that aren't actually there.
The concept may be fickle to understand at first, but it gets easier over time.
Why Apple Needs Pokemon
The Apple Watch has seen a slow growth towards relevancy since its launch, but it still has a long way to go until it becomes a necessity like the iPhone.
The initial Apple OS software was buggy, the apps were difficult to navigate, and there wasn't much use for it. That's changed significantly with newer watchOS updates that gave us cellular calling, walkie-talkie mode, FDA cleared health integrations (ECG), new watch faces, etc.
These updates redesigned the original, flawed structure with much needed features and less buggy software.
However the Apple Watch could use another "aha" moment to become the major hit it should've been, and that moment could arrive with Pokémon Go. And yes I know they've tried to do this before but neither product was advanced enough to take off.
Regardless, having Pokémon Go on wearable devices makes sense. It would be far easier to access, you won't have to sacrifice your phone, and it would be easier to hear/feel Go notifications when there's a creature nearby.
Not only that but pairing the most successful mobile game ever that helped Nintendo rise from the dead with the Apple brand would be marketing match made in heaven.
These two companies need each other and a product like the Apple Watch with these mixed reality type games would fit so well together.
While I don't know how long the Go craze will last, I'm confident that it's not going away anytime soon because of the brand's popularity. Nintendo has also reinvented itself upon the launch of their new Switch consoles, and their popularity is only going to go up.
Big things are ahead for one game giant, but even bigger things may happen if they paired with another tech superstar.
The Future of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is one of the most hyped ideas in tech next to autonomous vehicles, but is the hype worth it?
I've read countless stories stating that Pokmon Go's success will lead to the widespread acceptance of augmented reality but will it?
One terrifying portrayal of hyper-reality makes me think that we should wait and see what happens next. In the video above, there's so much mixing going on that we can't keep up.
That's a real fear, which makes me think that future products like Microsoft's Hololens or Magic Leap are going to face a tough road ahead.
Pokémon Go's success has more to say about the Pokémon brand, Nintendo, and nostalgia than it does about augmented reality.
In order for augmented reality to flourish it needs these 5 things:
- Affordable price
- Ease of Use
- Transcendent Need for Usage
The first issue addresses the money problem because accessibility stems from price and access to products that replicate mixed reality.
For example, virtual reality is well-known but not mainstream because the cost of VR products remains a bit out of reach for most and the software is too limiting.
The next issue deal with compatibility, which is similar to access but also how well augmented reality can blend into your environment. Can it do what phone does and be involved daily, can it give us something we can't live without?
Finally the last two points deal with ease of use and how well it'll transcend across different demos. Will augmented reality be easy to use and how will it translate across multiple demographics?
If it's too difficult to use, then you'll shut out older age groups that aren't as tech savvy as younger ones.
If it doesn't translate well, then businesses and future innovations will suffer. You can't succeed with augmented reality if any of those five points go haywire.
Future of Nintendo (+Nintendo Switch)
Pokemon Go was the first time we've seen Nintendo and its partners release a mobile game that we want to see.
I can only say that it's about time Nintendo. Mobile gaming is getting more popular and impressive as our phones become powerful computing units..
Nintendo has finally opened up to mobile apps like titles like "Super Mario Run" & "Dr. Mario World" on the market, and we're likely to see even more apps soon.
We've also witnessed the power of the Nintendo Switch with games from Legend of Zelda, the Super Mario series, and Pokémon Sword & Shield make huge strides. The Switch already went through a few iterations and it's only getting better.
The Switch revived Nintendo's golden age and introduced interactive entertainment, Labo VR, to a new era of kids and teens with plenty of nostalgia for adults.
Furthermore, Pokémon Go has never been more successful with tons of add-ons, accessories, updates, and future developments in the works.
All-in-all Nintendo has a very bright future ahead.