Are AR Games Like “Pokémon GO!” the next big thing?

There are a lot of reactions and verdicts with Pokémon GO, both from a younger and older perspective. Some of them are positive and some are just pretty disappointing. AR is new, and completely different, so it’s reasonable to why people have such vast opinions on the genre.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that takes the physical, real-world environment and adds computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data to enhance one’s perception of reality. They relate this to a more general concept called mediated reality, where a computer alters a view of reality, which can be augmented.

AR can be developed into apps and used on smartphones and other devices to bring digital content into the user’s real world. For example, the popular mobile game Pokémon GO uses GPS tracking to place digital creatures in real world locations, allowing players to capture them using their phone’s camera. 

There are many other potential uses for AR technology in mobile games. For instance, a game could take place in a specific location, with players using their phone’s camera to view and interact with the game’s characters and objects. This would create an immersive experience that could not be replicated on a traditional gaming device. 

AR mobile games are still in their infancy, but they have the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry. With more powerful and sophisticated smartphones, it is likely that we will see more and more AR games soon.

What is Pokémon GO?

In Pokémon GO, gamers can catch, fight, and train virtual characters known as Pokémon that appear in the real world using their smartphones. Imagine fulfilling your dreams as a Pokémon Trainer being able to search for Pokémon’s from all over your town. The game is free-to-play, with in-app purchases for additional in-game items. 

They released Pokémon GO in July 2016 and were immediately a tremendous hit. The game is currently available in over 150 countries and has been downloaded over 500 million times.

The gameplay

​​The game uses your phone’s GPS to track your location in the real world and superimposes Pokémon onto the map, which you then have to walk around finding and catch. Here’s how it all works. 

The game starts off by having you choose your starter, Pokémon, from Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. Once you’ve caught your starter, it’s time to explore your surroundings for wild Pokémon. As you walk around, your phone will vibrate to let you know when a Pokémon is nearby. Tapping on the Pokémon will bring up an encounter screen where you can try to catch it. 

Throwing a Poké Ball at a Pokémon is as simple as flicking it on the screen, but there’s a little of the strategy involved. If the Poké Ball circle is green, that means the Pokémon is easy to catch. If it’s yellow, it’s somewhat easy to catch. The Pokémon will be hard to catch if the circle is red. You can also get bonus XP for catching a Pokémon with a curveball or by landing the Poké Ball inside the smaller white circle that appears when you throw it. 

After you’ve caught a few Pokémon, you’ll want to find PokéStops. These are usually at interesting places like public art installations, monuments, and historical markers. Spinning the photo disc at a PokéStop will award you with items like Poké Balls, eggs, and potions. You can also place a Lure Module at a PokéStop, which will attract wild Pokémon to that location for 30 minutes. 

If you’re looking for a specific Pokémon, you can check the “Nearby” tracker to see which Pokémon are close to you. The tracker shows up to nine Pokémon, with the ones at the top being the closest. The tracker also shows the direction you need to walk in to find the Pokémon. 

Once you’ve caught a few Pokémon and collected some items, it’s time to battle at gyms. Like PokéStops, gyms are usually at interesting real-world locations. To battle at a gym, you first need to join a team by choosing between Team Instinct, Team Mystic, or Team Valor. After you’ve joined a team, you can battle the Pokémon stationed at enemy gyms. 

Battling is a simple turn-based affair where you select one of your Pokémon’s moves and then watch as the Pokémon carries out the attack. 

The goal is to reduce the opposing Pokémon’s health to zero before it can do the same to your Pokémon. If you’re victorious, you’ll get the chance to leave one of your Pokémon at the gym to help defend it from enemy attacks.

How did people react with the release of Pokémon GO?

Just like any other games, Pokémon GO also received a lot of love and hate from its players. Many were amazed about how it brought a new entertaining game in the market and how it incorporates the environment with it – I mean finding or buying a shiny Pokémon is amazing right? But that’s the downside of it. Many people just love the game just because it is new in the market and just because it is Pokémon (duh?) 

Some people think it’s just a phase since the game is really just repetitive and does not really have any challenges apart from finding a Pokémon strong enough to battle other people and that’s completely it. 

Since Pokémon GO is intended for the youngsters (and the young at heart) a lot of parents have been complaining about how the game just thinks about making some bucks, an anonymous reviewer said that “Some families do not have endless money to buy remote raid passes and it takes forever to earn the comings to buy them. Very disappointed that this company cares more about $$ than the customers and took away the one free raid pass you could get in the boxes.” In-game purchases are seen in almost every game as it does a lot of things that boost the entertainment that every game gives, but sometimes these things happen and you could’ve just spent your money elsewhere.

But this doesn’t mean that the game is awful, many people love the game and enjoy it when they travel or if they are in a train of bus. Playing games should really be in moderation, especially if you plan on spending on it. Setting boundaries on yourself in gaming should really be a priority. Play responsibly and enjoyment will come after.


Augmented reality still has a long way to go to be appreciated and attract the population of gamers and even non-gamers but it is a good thing that Pokémon could start it because that means the possibility of developers to release a game like this is endless and we may be close to experiencing our favourite games in AR or VR. 

It is not entirely bad, but it may not be the right time yet to introduce a completely unique method of gaming. Try out Pokémon GO and tell us how you feel about it!