Haven’t seen your kids at home much recently? (Or anyone in fact?) In case you didn’t know, the world has been taken over by Pokémon Go. Gaming enthusiasts have put down their games controllers and dusted off their walking boots. With the power of Augmented Reality and GPS, you can search for Pokémon at school, work, home, walking the dog, putting the bins out – pretty much anywhere.

I guess some of you may be wondering what Augmented Reality (AR) is? “Augmented” means to make an object more complex by adding something to it. And of course, ‘Reality’ is known as a state of things or object that actually exist. Augmented Reality appears to place objects into the real world through a mobile device which can be controlled by the user, like the Pokémon in Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go has been a real boost to the ever evolving games industry. It makes us wonder what game developers will come up with next. Mobile gaming has been on the rise for a while now, as smartphone graphics and processors have improved with higher resolution screens and better mobile networks, gamers can connect and play wherever they are! This has really attracted casual gamers, enticing people off their sofas to play games on their mobiles with friends.

West Pier Studio’s Business Development Manager, Richard Parrett, looks a little deeper into Pokémon Go and what it means to the mobile gaming world:

“The evolutionary part comes in combining this technology with an intuitive gaming experience that promotes users to play throughout their day, as they travel from place to place. Not only is the game addictive but it is well monetised, hence Nintendo’s rocketing share price. To speed up your progress through the game in-app purchases can be bought for real money, a model which has proved greatly successful for other games such as Candy Crush and Clash of Clans.”

Augmented Reality games like Pokémon Go show we have come a long way from simply moving a character around on a screen and instead, invited us to become part of the gaming world, to involve our movement and location. So where did this all come from? When the Nintendo Wii was released, it revolutionised the way we play computer games, by actually having to move the controller a certain way and use a certain amount of force, gave gaming another dimension. From there, the Xbox Kinect with its controller-less system meant that the gamer used body movements to control what was happening on the screen. With VR headsets and Augmented Reality, this is a natural progression to complete gaming immersion.

Now that is not to say that simply moving a character around on a screen has become out dated, with games like The Witcher 3 and Uncharted 4 the realism of the graphics and the characters on the screen being produced by the most powerful and latest consoles and PC’s, means it’s just another form of escapism into a wonderful, fictional world.

West Pier Studio’s Senior QA Tester and gaming enthusiast, Davyd Atkins from Brighton says:

Pokémon games have been around for almost twenty years now, with the first released in 1998, and 22 games released in the main series to date. It is an incredibly popular franchise from Nintendo, which goes some way to explaining the phenomenal success of Go. Combining the Pokémon core gameplay experience, where you explore a virtual world collecting monsters, with Ingress, which takes you out exploring the real world, was a logical progression.

Going forwards, location aware gaming, where your position in the real world and how you move around it matters, may become more common. With wearable technology like the iWatch, games could track your activity and movements and use that to reward you with progress, be it on a mobile game, or maybe when you get back to your games console.”

We look forward to the next few years and cannot wait to discover what is next for the games industry. We certainly feel very lucky to be a part of such a thriving and exciting community in Games Development.

Kayleigh Peskett – Recruitment/PR Manager at West Pier Studio.

West Pier Studio are a software development studio based in Brighton, we create superb mobile software, to include mobile apps, engaging social games and powerful 3D design tools. At West Pier Studio, not only do we have passion for making games, we also love playing them! You can view some of our work right here www.westpierstudio.com