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AR promises the (real) world, but can it deliver?

Hardly anyone could have missed the hugely successful launch of Pokémon Go in 2016. Even though this was not the first video game to include a central AR component, it was the first to really bring AR to the masses.

Pokémon Go is still the second highest grossing smartphone game in the world,[3] and also increased its revenue in 2018 compared to the previous year by 35 percent.[4] Overall, mobile AR software is estimated to generate more revenue than VR by 2021.[5] 


As a kid, I had Pokémon cards and played those. I was excited when they released the game, and I downloaded it right away. In the past few months, I've been playing a ton because they've updated it.

Katherine, 29, US


 
So, just how well does AR fit with the needs and expectations of gamers? The main driver for AR gaming is relaxation and escapism. Unsurprisingly, immersive gaming also scores high, as does social gaming, with close to half of AR gamers agreeing. 


At the moment, there's no depth to an AR game. It's literally like: 'Okay, I can fight Kylo Ren, and then if I close and reopen it, he is going to do the same motions again.' I feel that AR is still in its infancy.

Mitch, 28, UK


An immersive AR experience can make games matter

Currently, AR gamers are both intrigued by the promises of AR and disappointed by the delivery. Almost 4 out of 10 AR gamers agree that AR gaming will be more interesting with better and more immersive games, access to lower-cost AR glasses and better batteries.

Figure 10: Changes that would make AR games more interesting

Figure 10: Changes that would make AR games more interesting

Almost six out of ten AR gamers list immersive experience as a key driver for playing AR gamers. 

Figure 11: AR gamers that agree with each reason to play AR games (percent)

Figure 11: AR gamers that agree with each reason to play AR games (percent)

AR looks set to become a key component of mainstream entertainment, with 48 percent of all consumers saying they will use AR across different media types, including gaming, in the next 5 years. Interestingly, 7 out of 10 AR gamers think that AR opens up a totally new video gaming experience, and almost as many agree that it will change how video games are played in the future.