The Pokémon franchise was first introduced to the world in 1996 – when a new pair of video games for the Nintendo Game Boy appeared: Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green.
The concept centred around invented fictional creatures called Pokémon, which was short for pocket monsters. The gameplay revolves around players catching and training these creatures to battle each other. The games were an immediate global hit. This has evolved to the popular franchise that now includes video games, trading cards, an animated TV series, movies, merchandise – and a groundbreaking mobile game called Pokémon Go.This is an augmented reality game that was released in 2016. The game combines elements of location-based AR technology with the iconic world of Pokémon.Players use their smartphones to explore the real world while the game overlays a digital world onto the immediate physical environment .
When players walk around locations, they may encounter virtual Pokémon characters that appear on their screens – as if they were right in front of them.It encouraged youngsters to get out and explore locations where they might find characters. At the peak of the game's success players could be spotted wandering around parks and public spaces playing the game and staring into their phone screens excitedly.Pokémon Go's use of augmented reality and its ability to bring people together to explore their communities certainly created a cultural phenomenon. But what technologies were being employed to make the gameplay work?
GPS (Global Positioning System)
Pokémon Go relies on GPS technology to determine the players' real-world location. This allows the game to place virtual characters and scenes in specific real-world locations, encouraging players to explore different places to interact with these in-game elements.
Mobile Device Cameras
The game utilizes the cameras on players' mobile devices to enable the augmented reality experience. When encountering a Pokémon, the game overlays the virtual character on the live view from their camera. It appears that the Pokémon is right in front of them.
ARKit (iOS) and ARCore (Android)
The game also uses augmented reality development platforms to enhance the AR experience. This includes more accurate object tracking, surface detection, and visual mapping of the virtual objects onto the real-world environment.
Real-World Mapping and Geospatial Data
Extensive real-world mapping data can place in-game locations, like the training gyms, in appropriate physical places. They use geospatial data from various sources to create an accurate representation of the world in the game.
Pokémon Go relies on an internet connection to communicate with the game's servers. This connectivity is essential for real-time updates on the location of characters, interactions with other players, and accessing in-game events and content.
Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
IMU sensors in smartphones, including accelerometers and gyroscopes, help track the orientation and movement of the device. These sensors allow the game to adjust the position and behaviour of the virtual Pokémon on the screen as players move their devices.
By combining all these technologies, Pokémon Go transforms players' surroundings into an immersive interactive world. Its use of augmented reality, GPS, and real-world mapping in particular has been instrumental in making it one of the most successful and influential mobile games of all time.
Those key technologies have significantly impacted other games in the gaming industry with online gambling operators also incorporating such technologies into their games. Augmented Reality for example, has been introduced into some casino games like poker or blackjack. This helps to create virtual gambling environments, where players can interact with virtual dealers, slot machines, and other players in a more engaging way, replicating the real casino experience.
The use of Geolocation and GPS Integration has been incorporated into casino games too, especially in mobile gaming. It allows players to participate in geolocation-based gaming competitions. Some providers have also started to utilise location-based marketing techniques to attract nearby players through personalized offers and promotions. For example, online slots sites that are new to the market will target any interested players with bespoke promotions and offers to entice them to play at their site such as free spins no deposit. As the competition in the online casino industry continues to grow, providers need to ensure they utilise such technologies to stand out from their competitors.
Social Interaction and Multiplayer Features have inspired casino games to incorporate multiplayer features, such as live-dealer games. These allow players to interact with each other and the dealer in real-time, simulating the social atmosphere of a brick-and-mortar casino.Gamification Elements like achievements, rewards, and daily challenges kept Pokémon Go players engaged and motivated. Similarly, casino games have embraced gamification techniques by incorporating loyalty programs, daily bonuses, and level-based progression.Pokémon Go played a significant role in popularizing mobile gaming. This has enabled more casino games to be developed for mobile platforms. Players can access their favourite casino experiences on the go.
Mobile casino apps and optimized websites have seen increased adoption worldwide.Pokémon Go’s success has had a profound impact on gaming. Game designers have been inspired to introduce AR, geolocation, social interaction, gamification, mobile gaming, and improved visuals. Developers have created more immersive and engaging experiences in casino games, enticing players with innovative features. Thanks to Pokémon Go gaming has never been more fun.