Niantic, the software development giant famous for the creation of Pokemon Go, recently released a new app called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The game features a narrative that continues the story of Harry Potter from where the movies left off, bringing the action into our present day. Harry is now a middle-aged man working for the Ministry of Magic and gives players the mission to collect magical items called “Counfoundables” that have been scattered across the Muggle, or real, world.
Though the technology used in Wizards Unite is considered to be revolutionary, the app still has not received the hype that surrounded Pokemon Go. After its release, Wizards Unite racked up 400,000 downloads and $300,000; at the same point in its history, Pokemon Go had already reached 7.5 million downloads and $2 million in player spending.
Experts have revealed that they believe Pokemon Go was ahead of its time and had a better platform for welcoming those who weren’t necessarily Pokemon enthusiasts. There was no complicated narrative to pick up on; all players have to do is run around and catch Pokemon. On the other hand, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite requires a deeper appreciation for the saga due to its detailed narrative and many layers of references. The Pokemon fanbase also already encompassed people who considered themselves to be “gamers” and were eager to play. Though it has millions of dedicated fans, those who like Harry Potter cut across a wider set of demographics. It’s harder to get a bookworm or a movie buff hooked on a new approach to the series, no matter how revolutionary the technology is.
However, the fact of the matter is that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite offers much more than Pokemon Go. Niantic reimagined its use of augmented reality technology to craft a complex portal into the wizarding world. They wanted to harness it to create a completely immersive experience for players.
Wizards Unite scatters a multitude of AR features across the game. It allows players to create a Wizard ID with colorful, Snapchat-like, AR filters and accessories. Its gameplay unleashes the capability for players to encounter magical items that are projected into their real-world environment. Once those items are successfully collected by casting a spell, players can see them with 360-degree views or even take selfies with them. They can also use portkeys to open portals that allow them to step into their favorite locations in the wizarding world.
Niantic has also reported that upgrades will be made to the AR experiences offered by Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go in coming months. The company wants to perfect the technology so that it also detects obstacles that could obscure the quality of the animation. For example, if your Pokemon is running through a park, the technology would recognize when the Pokemon needs to look like it’s climbing a lamp post instead of running right through it. All of the new, augmented features are meant to perfectly align virtual worlds with our own.
However, this is only the beginning of the building process for augmented reality gaming technology. Niantic continues to build layers of development that lead to newer and better experiences for players around the world. Whether it’s through improving the way we can see Pokemon or integrating magic into the real-world, Niantic continues to prove that it isn’t done revolutionizing the way we game.
So what do you think? Are you going to give Wizards Unite a try? Head over to Niantic’s site for the game to learn more and the App Store to download.
Interested in implementing augmented reality technology into your mobile app? Contact Haneke Design! We are a firm that specializes in delivering user-centered solutions for connected devices through the Internet of Things.