Zebra with a hat

Don’t Miss Out on Those Great Hybrid AR Apps

Meing app made me realize that there are some non-exclusive AR games that are even better than those who were built from the ground up for AR. I found out that I’ve missed quite a few of those because I was always searching for those who promote themselves as AR apps. When Meing was first launched it didn’t have AR features (based on its history list on the App Store), and the AR features added afterward.

After using this Meing app, I can say with confidence the Augmented Reality (AR) features are by far the most interesting ones among the other features. There is no doubt that AR features definitely not just help to improve the experience, but actually became its main attraction.

In the past two months, I’ve tested many apps which were designed from the ground up for AR. Maby of them were sincerely lacking features and had lots of usability issues. While I was using some of them, I’ve come to a realization that just because you are building an Augmented Reality app, it doesn’t mean that the entire app should be in AR. In fact, I love having a fallback to non-AR when I play a game before going to sleep. Not every time I feel like playing with the lights on or standing up just to play a certain game that requires it.

The developer of Meing could have easily make the 3D avatar customization, the chat and all the other features in AR as well, but some of them just won’t be as fun or easy-to-use in AR. Meing app had an excellent balance and AR has its rightful place, while the other features work tremendously well without AR.

I actually like observing how developers tackle different game design and UI issues that particularly arise due to the use of the AR technology. The easiest way for developers to solve those issues is to get feedback from users. I did find some interesting articles written about UI in AR and there are definitely many people that were able to gather a lot of knowledge in this field. The fact is that AR didn’t start with ARKit, it’s already in the market for quite a few years now. I think it’s very important for a developer to be aware of those design complexities and read the related material in order to avoid mistakes.

I think that whatever AR app you are building, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that many people do find the physical aspect of using some AR apps to be a burden. How do I know that? because I read hundreds of comments and users feedback on the app store and in forums every day.

There is no shame building an app that only part of it uses AR if it still fits the original idea and design of your app. I’ve seen that many developers start adding AR features to their non-AR apps. The AR features beautifully compliment the original experience and adds additional entertainment value to it.  A few good examples are Kickerinho World AR, Splitter Critters, Flat Pack AR, AR Flip Knife, wherein those game, AR is a separate mode.

Some developers prefer not taking chances. After all, those ARKit apps are still limited to a slice of the market,  unless you decide to use other AR frameworks, but those lessen the quality of the experience. Furthermore, there are still many developers who are trying to figure out what experience work best for AR. There are many AR apps that are just a port of non-AR apps and they add no extra value and in many cases, just impair the experience and makes it less comfortable to play.

This is why with some apps I just telling myself why even bother, I prefer playing that version of the game without AR while enjoying playing it while lying down on the couch. I don’t even need to hold the device with two hands, just put it on the table and play.

I think that Meing is a great example how to take several great ideas that are known to work and blend them with AR features that compliments and enhances the entire experience. I think it wouldn’t have been that great with only the AR features alone.

The reason why people love it is that you bring them something that they like and are already familiar with, and you inject the magic of AR into it in a very seamless, accessible and convenient manner. The AR features aren’t imposed but suggested. The app can be used with or without it. Having said that, the app does encourage and promotes it. This way, users who weren’t familiar with AR, can try it for the first time and gradually adapt to it.

Even if the user doesn’t like the AR feature, it has plenty of other things to do in the app. Having said that, after the user sees what other users are creating with it, the user might show an interest in it. This is why the social aspect of the app helps to promote engagement on the user’s behallf.

If you search for AR games and apps, I highly recommend not ruling out or skipping those that aren’t developed from the ground up for AR.  I could easily skip some great games out there. Some of those standard games that have a separate AR mode were among the best that I’ve played.

The thing is that unless that app is installed and you receive an update on a new AR feature, it’s very hard to locate those new apps that add an AR mode or feature just recently. Many of those apps might not be so popular in your local app store. I could easily miss this amazing app Meing because it wasn’t released as an AR app in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing against either, obviously, the more the merrier, I just want to bring up an awareness so more of those hybrid AR app (those incorporating and AR mode or AR features) s get discovered.

In the future, I will try to pay more attention to those Hybrid AR apps and games and make sure to bring those good ones to your attention. Thanks for reading.