Augmented reality: the future is now

Augmented reality: the future is now

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Everyone has been talking about a certain mobile gaming app in the past couple of weeks (I even wrote my last blog post on it). This is, of course, for good reason: Pokémon Go is making €1.4million a day in the US alone, has more daily active users than Twitter, and added almost 90% to Nintendo’s share price in a week. Its augmented reality gaming format has proved so popular – and so blindingly simple – that a lot of people have been asking themselves one question: why didn’t they think of it sooner?

The answer is, they did. Pokémon Go developer Niantic created Ingress, a location-based mobile game, four years ago. Many gamers have been using their smartphones to play in augmented reality for years.

Both games have the same aim: you travel around your city collecting items that help you battle other players. Pokémon Go is even based on the same location data as Ingress, so many ‘Pokémon Gyms’ (where players battle Pokémon) and Pokéstops (where players go to gather resources like new PokéBalls) are also Ingress portals.

So what does Pokémon have that Ingress doesn’t? The secret to Pokémon Go’s success that it combines augmented reality with an iconic, hugely loved brand. And now that one augmented reality game has become a household name, others – and branded content – are sure to follow.

Geo-location data isn’t the only exciting opportunity that Pokémon Go gives digital marketers: it’s much more promising than that. Two weeks ago, the vast majority of consumers had no idea that the smartphone they carry in their pocket could be used this way. Now, consumers are familiarised with augmented reality and have never been more open to it. Pokémon Go is the gateway to augmented reality marketing.

In 2016 we’ve already seen steps towards wider adoption of virtual reality: Facebook recently gave all users the power to upload pseudo-360 photos by simply changing the way panoramic photos appear in the newsfeed, and 360 content from brands is becoming more and more prevalent. Consumers have responded well to this content and proven willing to participate in new types of branded experiences. Now, the time is ripe for branded augmented reality: Pokémon Go has shown that 9.5 million daily active users are willing to give it a go.

Thanks to Pokémon Go, I’m eagerly anticipating the use of augmented and virtual reality as part of every brands digital marketing strategy. Will you be using it in next campaign? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet me @agostinellialdo.

Image provided by re:publica under a Creative Commons license.

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