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augmented reality gaming (AR gaming)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Augmented reality gaming (AR gaming) is the integration of game visual and audio content with the user's environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality gaming, which often requires a separate room or confined area to create an immersive environment, augmented reality gaming uses the existing environment and creates a playing field within it. While virtual reality games require specialized VR headsets, only some augmented reality systems use them. AR games are typically played on devices like smartphones, tablets and portable gaming systems.

An augmented reality game often superimposes a precreated environment on top of a user’s actual environment. The game itself can be as simple as a game of virtual checkers played on a table surface. More advanced AR games may actually build an environment from user surroundings. Such a game could involve, for example, in-game characters climbing from coffee tables to sofas on virtual bridges. Environment creation is a time-consuming task in game making and there is a constant demand for new scenery because once a user has explored an environment fully they want to move on to a different one. AR gaming expands the playing field, taking advantage of the diversity of the real-world environment to keep the games interesting.

Pokémon GO,  considered the breakthrough AR app for gaming, uses a smartphone’s camera, gyroscope, clock and GPS and to enable a location-based augmented reality environment. A map of the current environment displays on the screen and a rustle of grass indicates the presence of a Pokémon; a tap of the touchscreen brings up the capture display. In AR mode, the screen displays Pokémon in the user’s real-world environment.

Professor Mark Skwarek explains how the rise of augmented reality could lead to industrial revolution – and digital addiction:

This was last updated in August 2016

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