Video games provide a dazzling digital world of escapism, whether through a green pipe or a galactic empire. Yet in recent years, there has been a push to blur the boundaries between what is real and what is fictional.
Ubisoft presented skewed versions of Chicago and San Francisco in Watchdogs and its sequel. It also produced a post-apocalyptic version of New York in Tom Clancy's The Division. Running parallel to this is the development of Virtual Reality, promising a more immersive experience through a headset like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Sony’s PlayStation VR.
The rise of AR
For all the money, marketing, and hype, it was a small game linked to mapping software on mobile devices that took the world by storm. Pokémon Go managed to do what no other game had before: it persuaded players to explore the real world in real time, hunting for the titular creatures in parks, shops, churches, and, oddly, police stations. In preparation for Halloween, the spooky critters from Pokémons are now everywhere until November 1st, so make sure you've got the balls to catch them!
Other games had tried and failed to achieve the balance Pokémon Go strived for. Developer Niantic Labs, formerly part of Google, first came up with the idea in Ingress, a sci-fi exergame for both phones and tablets. It was almost a prototype for Pokémon Go, with players joining different factions and capturing portals that appeared around areas of cultural interest.
Other companies also joined the AR phenomenon. Games4All designed SpecTrek, a ghost-hunting AR game where cartoon-esque spectres appeared floating in the normal world, visible only through your screen. At the same time, the LyteShot platform was created by a company of the same name, allowing developers to fashion games that linked to eye-wearable technology.
AR on tablets
Many of the AR titles developed targeted mobile devices, because specific AR games often require GPS data to allow players to interact with the real world. How else will they see where a rare Snorlax is hiding in Taipei? Yet, with the rise of powerful tablets such as the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro, AR games could receive a much-needed boost if properly implemented on this platform. For anything more intensive, the ROG XG Station 2 built for ultimate graphics power for gaming is scheduled for release by the end of this year.
Despite recent smart phones receiving shining reviews for their full HD screens, Pokémon Go was created at a lower resolution in order to function adequately. Tablets, on the other hand, are able to run more powerful applications, thanks to higher chipsets and processing power. The Transformer 3 Pro comes with a mighty Intel i7 processor, coupled with a 13MP rear-facing camera to add more detail and clarity to AR games, especially when viewed on its bright and colourful 3K resolution screen.
The future of AR
Microsoft is hoping to take AR one step further. It created the HoloLens, a wearable device with a visor that overlays data onto the real world. In its debut tech demo, Microsoft showed a Minecraft game being built on top of furniture in a living room.
As ROG strives stay at the forefront of gaming technology, you can be sure that AR isn't overlooked. We can't wait for the day a portable, light-weight, all-in-one solution comes out!