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    How AR Technology Helped Game Developers in Creating a New Dimension

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    Parallel Universe: How Augmented Reality is Changing People's Lives (5)
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    In 2016 the augmented reality game Pokemon Go became a global phenomenon and an extremely profitable mobile app. However, the game's developer Niantic wasn't first in creating an alternate digital layer of reality, which captured the imagination of gaming fans worldwide.

    The augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go by Nintendo is shown on a smartphone screen in this photo illustration taken in Palm Springs, California U.S. July 11, 2016
    © REUTERS / Sam Mircovich/Illustration
    When you launch your favorite smartphone navigation software, monsters would probably be the last thing you'd expect to see on screen next right next to your favorite supermarket. But that is exactly what happens in the Parallel Kingdom – a mobile app, which layers an interactive alternate reality on top of your town's map. Created in 2008 by Wisconsin-based company PerBlue, this location-based role-playing game was the first application of its kind for Android and iOS. The Parallel Kingdom was distributed freely and allowed users to claim territory on the map and protect it by challenging other players in duels.

    The game eventually went through five iterations and received numerous industry awards – from being Best Augmented Reality Game of 2009, to becoming a finalist in the Mashable 2011 awards among Best Mobile Games.

    In 2012, four years after its launch, Parallel Kingdom had 1.8 million subscribers.

    Here is how PerBlue's community development manager Ellie Humphrey explained the game's popularity in her interview on Beau Hindman's YouTube channel:

    I think the first reason it's because it's been around the longest. So, we have kind of organically grown within four years, so that's the big reason. I think the second reason, is because it's such a deep game, there's so many things that you can do and different ways you can play it… And, I think the third reason is that we're updating, we're always adding new missions, new quests, new legendary monsters, there's always on the horizon, some element of surprise.

    Augmented reality, or AR, is a technology, which allows adding augmented or supplemented elements to live view of the real-world environment. Video game development is just one of AR's applications. It's being widely used in medicine, aviation, literature, design and commerce.

    AR applications rely heavily on the host device's hardware. They often require several crucial components – mobile connectivity, a high-resolution camera and precise geolocation services.

    9 years ago, when the Parallel Kingdom was released, there weren't too many mobile devices on the market capable of supporting immersive AR content.

    But in 2016, when many smartphones were getting quad-core and octa-core central processing units, AR-enabled games gained momentum.

    San-Francisco-based Niantic released Pokemon Go, which allowed players to catch and train imaginary monsters which were roaming around in an environment, which was skillfully merged with live smartphone camera video.

    According to Global Industry Analysts, in the coming years, the mobile augmented reality market is only going to get bigger, and AR-enabled games will become one of the major growth categories.

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    Topic:
    Parallel Universe: How Augmented Reality is Changing People's Lives (5)
    Tags:
    smartphone app, augmented reality, software, Parallel Kingdom, Pokemon Go, Niantic
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