We’ve pointed to a few new smartphones this year, and the truth is that just about every new mobile device that comes out these days is impressive in one way or another. But with iPhone 8 now the talk of the tech world, focus is turning once again toward the biggest name in the mobile industry – and its biggest announcement in quite some time.
That would be the announcement of ARKit, which was actually unveiled somewhat gradually well before the iPhone 8 was. It’s basically a software design program that will be helping people to create games and other experiences that are compatible with Apple devices’ new AR capabilities. Without any kind of goggles or glasses (though some may still be coming in the future), Apple users with iOS 11-compatible devices will be able to experience AR with their phones. And for what it’s worth, many Android users will be able to do the same thing! Google’s ARCore appears to be more or less the exact same thing, and was also recently announced.
We know what these technologies are going to offer, and if you do a few quick Google searches you’ll find some really cool demos that have already been put together. But the fun question now is what games we’ll be playing through our smartphones via ARKit and ARCore. Right now, we really don’t know! But having looked at the demos, seen what the tech is all about, and considered the general state of modern mobile gaming, I’ve got a few picks for games that should thrill.
1 – Shooters
Yes, even here arcade shooters should thrive. It’s actually quite easy to imagine. You’ll be able to move your phone around looking at the room through it, and bad guys and all manner of creatures will likely emerge as adversaries. You’ll be able to “shoot” them by tapping your phone, in all likelihood, such that a real room or back yard can become a target practice arcade. There’s actually some precedent for this in a mobile game that was a round for quite a while. High Noon by HappyLatte Games was described as offering intense heart-stopping real-time duels, and it basically did just that. Your job was to flip your phone up as if drawing it from a holster, and then position it such that you were looking at your cartoon opponent (an avatar for a live opponent in real time). It wasn’t AR, because it all took place in an animated environment, but it’s actually a similar concept other
2 – Puzzle Quests
I’m not sure this is an accepted genre name, but I don’t know quite else what to call it. I’m referring to the growing category of mobile games that are basically 3D puzzles in which you’re a little more invested in a character and environment than usual. Think of Monument Valley and Hitman GO for reference. These games almost play like they’re designed in real physical spaces, and that should make them perfect for AR. Plus, they’re quite popular. Monument Valley 2 just launched this past summer, and fans are already hoping for more. Whether it’s a new version of Monument Valley or something similar (something like this has already come up in the aforementioned demos), we should expect to enjoy some puzzle adventures through ARKit and/or ARCore.
3 – Slots
Most of the attention regarding VR and casino games has been devoted to poker. Certainly, the chance to sit at a virtual poker table and simulate a game should be a lot of fun when somebody gets it right. But slots shouldn’t be overlooked. Developers have already delivered plenty of 3D experiences that go beyond what we imagine as the typical, bland online slots, and making them interactive via AR is a fairly natural progression. We may well soon be seeing one of two things: either slot machines presented in digital form, or 3D character animations comprising these games’ themes coming to life through our phones.
4 – Board Games
These may not sound like the most exciting options at first, but they could be the most popular board game iterations since the originals. We all saw mobile devices make games like Scrabble and Monopoly popular all over again – but imagine taking things a step further and being able to play out these games in AR? You’d basically be able to establish a legitimate board game with any friend or family member with a compatible device, without actually sharing the same space. We may see a massive category of ARKit and ARCore board games emerge quite quickly, and they should be a whole lot of fun.
These are just a few ideas, and we may know how accurate they are in a matter of months. But any way you cut it, these AR systems should be very exciting for iOS and Android mobile users.