Augmented reality fairy tales
It’s been a long time since you sat on the family couch to devour your breakfast in front of the early morning cartoons. Today, the worlds of cartoons and books not only extend into movie franchises (sometimes in 3D) but also into virtual reality.
Indeed, it is now possible for all fans to experience the same adventures as their cartoon heroes by standing in their place. This phenomenon was most noticeable with Pokémon Go, which shattered the record for mobile app downloads. Even though it was created in 2016, the app recorded no fewer than 800 million downloads in 2018 alone.
Geolocation + fiction = augmented reality
Let’s remind ourselves of the concept behind the game: with the Pokémon Go! App, you can catch imaginary monsters from the Pokémon cartoon. Quite simply, you’ve got to catch them all, with monsters being hidden in real-life locations so that they can be unearthed on literally any street corner. The result is a fully immersive and interactive game. In turn, this explains its popularity craze among the young and the old alike.
Niantic is headed by none other than John Hanke, the founder of the companies that would ultimately become Google Earth, Google Maps and Street View. In other words, he’s the world’s leading geolocation expert. He’s now working on an augmented reality video game project, based on the Harry Potter universe. Meanwhile, his company is seeking to develop technology with the ability to identify and contextualize objects in the real world to trigger interactions that are as close to the user’s as reality as possible, creating a unique sensory experience.
How much does video gaming in augmented reality cost?
Supercell is more than just another competing company. To counter Niantic’s attack in the form of Pokémon Go, the Finnish publisher responded by diversifying its business with a web comic business and by adopting a free to play model. In case you are wondering, Supercell is the app developer that offers Clash of Clans and Clash Royale for free.
So what does the company do to earn its profits?
The answer is simple. While the app is free, add-ons aren’t. It is estimated that Supercell’s revenue comes from the paying users who make up just 5% of its user base.
Niantic, the joint publisher of Pokémon Go alongside Nintendo, recorded two billion euro of revenue from the sale of add-on products. In 2015, the company also announced that it had raised funding of 215 million euro to design a Harry Potter game with a planned launch date of late 2019/2020. This means that the company’s share price might very well shoot up.
It is estimated that Niantic has a market capitalization of nearly four billion euro. Nevertheless, this is only the beginning, because augmented reality is expanding out of our leisure activities to reinvent our daily lives. Once you realize that smartphone users globally spend an average of three hours per day on their phone apps (compared to just two hours per day in France) you can even wonder whether Niantic and augmented reality might dethrone giant Nintendo from its market-leading position and relegate games consoles to the garage sale. (*Statistics by AppAnnie).