‘Pokemon Go’: ‘Ingress’ Developer Talks Working With Nintendo & Future Of Real World Gaming

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‘Pokemon Go’: ‘Ingress’ Developer Talks Working With Nintendo & Future Of Real World Gaming
‘Pokemon Go’: ‘Ingress’ Developer Talks Working With Nintendo & Future Of Real World Gaming Flickr: nabeel

John Hanke, the CEO and founder of Niantic, spoke about the future of real world gaming as augmented reality begins to take root with the help of smartphones. Niantic are the developers behind the AR mobile game Ingress and recently partnered with Nintendo to help create Pokémon Go.

AR will let gamers of all ages learn how to love their community in new ways, according to Hanke. In Pokémon Go, players will need to collect items, like the different types of Poké Balls or health potions.

“Farming . . . in Pokemon Go it’s taking a walk through town, taking a walk down the lake . . . harvesting the items you need to advance. Of course it wouldn’t be Pokemon without Pokemon,” said Hanke. “Core mechanic of the game is try to capture all the pokemon. They’re distributed all around the world. Pokemon in different habitats, some pokemon in the water . . . places they’re already live. Which means you all have to go to a variety of places to find them.”

In the video demo that Hanke showed, Pokémon will appear on screen in 3D, your phone becoming a filter to see into their world. Pokémon will move around on the grass for example and will attack, but can be captured by flicking a Poké Ball from the bottom of the screen to the top.

Hanke hopes that Pokémon Go will become as popular as Ingress is with its fanbase. Players in Ingress have to capture portals from enemy players, like fountains or local monuments, but also have to work together to form the direct links needed that starts the process.

“He gets a cab, late at night, and the cab takes him 20 kilometers to go — I don’t know how much that costs in Egypt — 20 kilometers to go knock out this portal," Hanke said. "It’s in an international hotel, he can’t get in because of the security situation — he’s not a guest — they won’t let him in the hotel, so the cab driver takes him back and the cab driver says, you’re crazy for doing this for a game, you’re out of your mind. To prove he’s out of his mind, he went back the next day, again, talked his way into the hotel and took down the offending portal.”

The future of AR is bright, according to Hanke, and it’s a question of when, not if, real world gaming will enter the mainstream. People have been thinking about using technology like this for a long time, Hanke said, and he’s building on a vision built decades ago.

“Ubiquitous computing, and it’s basically the world that we’re going to live in now, where computing is not a mainframe as it was in the era [of the] desktop computer or even a mobile phone," said Hanke. "It’s a world where there’s computing on every surface, and every interaction that we have is a digital heartbeat that pervades the physical world, and when it reaches full fruition it will fade into the background and it won't be intrusive, clunky device on your head, it’ll just be there and it’ll almost be a part of the new you . . . Not to knock VR, but AR is where it’s at.”

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