Developer Behind Pokemon Go Backs Apple's Push Into AR

  • Real-world Pokemon Go festivals coming worldwide in the summer
  • CEO says AR could succeed the mobile phone as next platform

Developers Embrace Augmented Reality

The chief executive officer of Niantic Inc., the developer behind Pokemon Go, believes Apple Inc.’s entry into virtual and augmented reality this week should not be underestimated.

“I don’t think anyone should bet against Apple,” John Hanke said at the Brilliant Minds conference in Stockholm. "I personally think AR is going to be a really important next computing platform that can succeed the mobile phone. It’s a few years off."

On Monday Apple introduced a set of tools called ARKit to enable iOS developers to create advanced augmented reality apps and services for iPhones and iPads, which included a new version of Pokemon Go developed by Niantic, expected to be released in the fall.

Bloomberg previously reported Apple has spent more than $1 billion on acquisitions to bolster its efforts and spent years researching and developing for the technology.

Hanke said that while Apple will show enormous strength and reach in western markets such as the U.S. and Europe, reception for iOS-only products may be different.

“In Asia, Brazil and the developing world, Android really dominates,” he said, adding that in these territories “you’ve got to be cross-platform.”

Hanke also used the stage to announce several Pokemon Go festivals coming this summer, including one in Chicago and another in Yokohama, Japan. A further event will be held in a European city, although the CEO said finding a venue of sufficient size was proving difficult.

At these "Pokemon Go fests," as the CEO referred to them, thousands of players would be invited to gather at specific locations to play the game together.

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