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Mobile Gaming Brands Embrace Augmented Reality’s Potential



While mobile games with augmented reality features remain the exception, rather than the norm (and no location-based AR games have matched Pokemon Go’s success), gaming companies like 30 Ninjas and Liquid City, two Verizon partner studios, continue to experiment with the use of AR in their projects.

Pokemon Go revolutionized the use of augmented reality technology in mobile games upon its debut in July 2016. According to mobile analytics company data.ai, Niantic’s creature collection game has been downloaded more than 675 million times and has seen more than $7 billion in consumer spending across iOS and Android devices. Now, more companies are trying to replicate at least some of that success. 

For instance, Asset 15 from Verizon partner studio 30 Ninjas utilizes room-scale AR technology to allow players to feel like they’ve entered the in-game world, where they’ll be challenged to help a woman named Flux (portrayed by Amandla Stenberg) solve the mystery of an AI experience that has put her sister, Petra, into a coma.

As players make their way through the iOS game, they’ll be able to solve puzzles in augmented reality to retrieve and reconstruct Petra’s memories. The game’s first two chapters are available for free on iOS devices, while the full game can be unlocked via in-app purchase.

“As storytellers, we strive to build narratives that allow players to immerse themselves in the experience, and with Asset 15, we were able to blend tangible physical spaces with layers of a new reality,” said Julina Tatlock, executive producer and director at Ninja 30s. “It’s been an incredible process creating for augmented reality, and we see it as a whole new storytelling platform where we can deepen the ways that people interact with mixed-media elements.”

Another Verizon partner studio, Liquid City, released Overbeast, a free-to-play, location-based AR game that brings unique creatures called Overbeasts to each U.S. state and asks players to collect resources and work together to help them grow. The game’s AR features allows players to view their state’s Overbeast, collect resources from the real world and watch their state’s Overbeast compete with rival creatures, all through augmented reality.

“Creating Overbeast opened up all new layers of visual, spatial and interactive design that was really only possible through augmented reality,” said Keiichi Matsuda, founder and director of Liquid City. “Through AR we were able to build an entire world.”

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