Outdoor AR games

Outdoor AR Games – Where are they?

Most of the games that I’ve reviewed here on AR Critic are ones that you can play almost everywhere you are, whether indoors or outdoors. When I play many of those AR games, I obviously prefer playing them in the comfort of my home.

There are some games similar to Pokémon Go, which must be taken outdoors in order to play it fully. Some use virtual content in different geolocation coordinates and encourage the user to visit those coordinates in order to progress through the game, in ways that the game supports (e.g. searching for loot, collecting items, controlling map points, etc).

Other games are just designed as large-scale augmented reality games, which means that you most likely need to get out of your house to play those. Among those games, you can find games like W.ARAR-Man, AR Baseball and others.

Having played all of those games, most of them didn’t actually got me overwhelmy excited to spend more time outdoors and explore the environment. I’ve tried playing Domination: Earth but found it very frustrating due to the long distances I had to move to collect items and conquer areas and the boring 2D map view during exploration. I didn’t feel at any point engaged and motivated to get to the point where I am going to be rewarded for something. I still going to give it another shot in a few days, maybe things changed for the better. The fact that I did schedule it for review and I didn’t get to the point where I was motivated to progress through it, tells something about the game, and it’s not positive.

I am not surprised that there aren’t many developers who put efforts in developing Pokemon-style outdoor exploration augmented reality games. I did speak with quite a few indie developers, and many of them mentioned the high cost of development and time needed to develop such projects and also the risk involved.  They prefer testing the ground with simple games that don’t take long to develop. Developers are still trying to find out ideas that work well in AR and will be favorable among users. One of the ways to do it is iterating different small app and game ideas and see what’s stick.

One of the apps that I’ve seen quite a few version of it is one like Skrite,  that you put notes and virtual content in the real world and let others discover it. I personally find those apps to be boring because they don’t focus on anything, just general sharing of information and their developers didn’t even bother having an option to categorize that information and put them in context. Just think of a person going out and needs to see thousands of messages that random people leave. It’s like going on facebook and start reading posts of random people without any relevance to what you are actually interested in. I don’t do this on other social networks, so why would I enjoy seeing messages of other people on the street, let alone that this is open to spam and other undesired content.

By the way, I also assume that some developers prefer to use AR cloud for their new AR projects. Some technologies like one from 6D.Ai and youAR already looking very promising. I assume that some developers are already using some AR cloud technologies and it just takes a bit more time until we see their projects come to life.

I still optimistic that sometimes soon we get to play a great outdoor AR game, preferably a cooperative multiplayer one. I personally don’t play Pokemon Go, but having an augmented reality RPG game. Seeing Street Fighter II remake in AR made me want to get out there and fight creatures in the wild, preferably Bayonetta-style that takes great use of the vertical space, rather than just fighting on the ground.

Anyone of us spends a great deal of time outdoors. When I go to the bus or walk to the market, I want to have a game that will allow me to discover things while I’m doing that. It would be nice to have the game also playable indoors, so when I come back home after finding loot and outdoor combat experience, to have an option to leverage them when I am on my bed and want to continue playing the game at the comfort of my home.

I also want to join other people outdoors, socialize with them as we both take part of outdoor events together related to the game.  Maybe go into special event gathering (similar to Hearthstone) where other players team up against other players and play with each other in the same physical space. Speaking of which,  take a look at Nightenfell AR, a shared co-op AR game that was just released a few days ago.

As I continue to review new AR app and games, I am still fantasizing on those great outdoor Augmented Reality (AR) games that are yet to come.

If you are a developer and already developed a great outdoor AR game which I might have missed, please, by all means, message me and tell me about it. I would love to check it out.

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