Remember all the coverage in summer 2016 around Pokémon Go? It was a big success for Niantic Labs. It was a great pairing of game design, location-based augmented reality mobile experience with some intellectual property that had a solid fan base. But not much happened in the popular space with AR since then.
I am not going out on a limb to predict that the big AR title for 2018 will probably be Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an AR title being co-developed by Niantic and Warner Bros. Interactive's Portkey Games.
Harry Potter has a bigger fan base than the original Pokémon and author J.K. Rowling has kept a close watch on the quality of things based on her Wizarding World. Using mobile phones and AR for a scavenger hunt in our real Muggle world and using that phone to cast spells, and find objects, fantastic beasts and characters from the book series is very likely to give Niantic another hit.
Some people touted Pokémon Go for getting kids outside as they wandered neighborhoods, parks and other places. Some people complained that these kids were tramping around their property.
This gaming use of AR with kids (and some older kids) is certainly wonderful preparation for more serious marketing use of AR for shopping experiences, as well as for virtual tours in museums and other more serious applications.
Niantic raised $30 million in funding for Pokémon Go. This time they have $200 million in a funding round, from investors for Wizards Unite. That kind of money will mean work as well as a few Aberto and Alohomora spells at opening the AR money door.
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