Gameplay on the mobile phone has probably seen the biggest amount of growth out of all gaming platforms. From Snake on the Nokia in 1998 to Angry Birds flying across smartphone touchscreens in 2009, we’ve seen huge changes. Now, to keep mobile gaming fresh and to help field of the vast amount of inner - and outer - industry competition, the future seems to be gameplay that jumps out of the phone. Augmented Reality will be the way gamers interact play through the use of apps – some of which are already being rolled out. The select handful of augmented reality games on the market shows just where the gaming industry is heading.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality is a lot more common in a mobile sense than we think – just look at the extremely popular 166 million daily users accruing social media platform Snapchat, which features AR filters that apply crowns, animal faces, and movie tie-ins to real people the camera is facing. All AR gaming refers to is using your phone in conjunction with what the phone itself can see, through the camera. Although AR is most often used as a PR or advertising tool - for instance with BroadcastAR's impressive AR presentation for National Geographic Channel seen in the video below -, the scope is almost limitless and the saturated market of mobile apps can definitely use AR to get ahead.


Pokemon Go

One of the most popular examples of Augmented Reality – which may not appear to some as a new and cutting-edge piece of technology, simply because we're rather familiar with it – is Niantic and Nintendo's Pokemon Go, a game that allows users to interact with Pokemon placed in their direct physical environment. With 9.5 million active daily users, Pokemon Go effectively brought Augmented Reality to the mass market, and showed how AR can keep users actively engaged with their environments when enhanced with digital elements.


Plane Finder AR

While Augmented Reality technology limitations are properly ironed out – and before the major games can be developed using it – the apps on the market are generally giving a taste of what AR can do. The AR Plane Finder app perfectly sums up AR, allowing users to analyse planes in the sky above and determine where they are from, where they are going, and what kind of planes they are. The app shows the technology’s use with tangible elements, such as scheduled flights that use a database in order to relay the information to app users.

IKEA Place

IKEA Place solves the age-old problem of choosing furniture online, or even physically, by enabling users to visualise it in their home. The app scales products with 98% accuracy, based on room dimensions. Besides digitally placing IKEA products in a room – precisely showing even the textures of fabrics and shadows –, the app also allows users to take pictures and video of the setting to share them with others. IKEA is among the first home furnishing brands to make buying decisions easier using Augmented Reality.

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Microgaming Augmented Reality App

Often being at the forefront of technological booms, the Microgaming app features 13 cards that produce animations when the AR app camera is held over them. Microgaming predominantly creates casino games – in fact, the casino niche has always embraced technology that will enhance the experience for the gamer, in an effort to make games more appealing to customers. Games like blackjack and roulette have historically gone through many improvements from style to even naming convention of the games, while online casinos embraced the live dealer experience when other brands were tentative to experiment with live streaming and the possibilities it created.

Zombies, Run

Zombies, Run is an AR app game that combines the ability to interact with one’s environment and exercise. The premise of the game revolves running around on missions listening to music, with items to collect at various locations around your city and with occasional bursts of "zombies" chasing you – which means you have to speed up. The combination of GPS tracking, AR and exercise is one that further reinforces how useful AR will be as a function for making current processes better. With over 200 missions and 250km of ground to cover, the app showcases the way the technology can enhance an everyday activity, such as going for a run.

Augmented Reality is truly the apex of what technology can do, by merging reality with what can be created virtually to create a holistic experience. AR will continue to be seen and rolled out across the board, from more apps and games to console gaming and even modern technological features in our day-to-day lives.