Pokemon GO players have been enjoying the magic of AR for a while now, with their compact little buddies roaming the world around them, visible only through their phone camera; but Niantic's HoloLens tech demo has just given us a glimpse of how much better that experience can be.
CEO John Hanke donned a HoloLens 2 headset to show off the proof-of-concept Pokemon Go app made for the hardware, which was part of a larger presentation centred around Microsoft's new mixed reality platform, Microsoft Mesh.
As detailed in the Niantic blog, the demo isn't consumer-ready, but provides an early look at how mixed reality hardware and software might work in tandem to create new and unique experiences, or vastly improve on existing ones, like Pokemon GO.
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Why wander around with your eyes glued to your handset when you can stick on a pricey headset and use AR to catch Pokemon? Add the stress of trying to spot potential muggers who can't believe that someone is actually swanning around with a £3.5k piece of hardware strapped to their face, and you can almost feel the thrill of what it's like to be a 10-year old kicked out of the house with an electric rat, fending off thieves from Team Rocket. If that's not immersion, I don't know what it.
Niantic champions the "transformative potential" of AR, saying it can improve lives through its various applications, like spicing up your daily walks, or jazzing up your favorite spot. Commenting on its future AR plans, Niantic says it's "working to enable even more planet-scale experiences for next-generation AR hardware" adding:
"For our part, we’re committed to leveraging and expanding our platform to build real-world AR experiences for as many devices as possible and reaching a diverse set of players no matter their physical location. This includes building with others that share a common vision for how technology can facilitate deeper social connection and spark a sense of adventure in the real world."
Of course, all we really want is to see our Pokemon hanging out with us, so whatever brings that reality one step closer, we're on board with!