There's no doubt Pokémon Go has people under a spell - and is actually making people healthier by pushing them outside. However it's also revitalized interest in augmented reality, and AR companies are loving it.
Speaking with Wareable, Soren Harner, chief product officer at Meta described how Pokémon Go has brought genuine interest and even greater knowledge about the technology mainstream.
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Harner described how taking a quick Uber ride garnered an in depth conversation not only about Pokemon, but AR in general which might have been unheard of before the game's release.
"I was taking an Uber home and my driver was going on and on about Pokémon Go...I think having deep conversations about AR is cool - it's happened three days in a row now. It drives awareness and it gives people a glimpse of why they want it (AR)."
But he also thinks it can be done better - specifically with a head mounted display (HMD) so you can get better immersion. On one hand, it sounds counter-intuitive to the experience of the game - you're supposed to go outside aided only by a phone (or incoming Go Plus wearable) then capture 'real life' Pokémon. That in itself is more immersive than a Gameboy experience, card game or watching a TV show. But Harmer believes an HMD brings the Pokémon closer.
"I think the actual experience of doing it through a tablet can be fairly GPS based rather than heavily user registration based. I think it's something we improve vastly on. Put it in a head mounted display so it's more sophisticated. The (Meta 2's) scale is equal to the Vive or the Oculus - and we want to deliver rich experiences."
So what about using AR smart glasses like Google Glass for Pokémon Go? Smart glasses could provide better form factor and up the immersion quality compared to a mobile device. However Harner thinks glasses take away from the potential of a high quality experience powerful AR headsets like Meta 2 can provide.
That doesn't mean you'll always have to be in a room tethered to a powerful PC. Harner says Meta is working on perfecting an AR headset inside first, but taking it outside is the end goal. That means one day, you could be catching Pokemon with a high quality AR headset untethered. Harner says,"It's indoors today but it's outdoors tomorrow."