Location-based augmented reality (AR) title Pokemon Go became a global phenomenon when it was launched last year, with groups of people gathering to find and catch rare Pokemon. Though enthusiasm has waned somewhat since, Pokemon Go still enjoys huge popularity, and it seems that it might just be the beginning.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Chief Executive Officer of the Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara spoke of the future of Pokemon Go, and what other plans are afoot for the Pokemon franchise as a whole.
Ishihara indicated that there were big plans afoot for Pokemon Go: “We’ve only accomplished 10 percent of what Pokémon and Niantic are trying to do, so going forward we will have to include fundamental Pokémon experiences such as Pokémon trading and peer-to-peer battles, and other possibilities.” he said. Pokemon trading is a much-requested feature among the Pokemon Go userbase.
He spoke also of some of the challenges of designing a location-based title like Pokemon Go and keeping it consistent with the rest of the Pokemon universe: “Depending on location, there are many Pokémon with different characteristics. So what do we do with those and the real world? One view is to have chilly Pokémon in a cold climate, but then that would also mean that people born on a tropical island won’t be able to catch them. So we are always thinking of how to find the right balance between game design, how our Pokémon should exist, and how players feel about their collections.”
There have been well-reported problems with Pokemon Go since launch, with over stressed servers not allowing people in to play, and the issues that developed at the Chicago Pokemon Go Fest event where saturated 3G and 4G networks simply couldn’t handle the strain of so many players at once: “When too many people gather, it causes mass confusion. Also this isn’t limited to Pokémon Go, but the issue of staring at smartphones while walking is something we have to focus on and think about.”
Ishihara was enthusiastic about the possibilities inherent in AR technology as it develops: “With current AR, even if you say Pikachu is there, no one really thinks that. But that reality is just one step away. For example, you’ll be able to find Pikachu, and it can sense this table and jump on it, and you can see its shadow on the table, and then it faces you and starts talking to you. We will see the birth of this reality that is another step up from the current Pokémon Go. And I’ve only mentioned the visual aspect, but you can add haptic and rumble technology to that.”
VRFocus will continue to bring you news on Pokemon Go and other AR titles.