Digital FuturesKeynote

Augmented Reality is Where the Real Metaverse is Going to Happen

Niantic, the inventor of Pokemon Go, wants to build the 'Real World Metaverse'.

An especially powerful concept is where and how the Metaverse will intersect with Augmented Reality.

To date most conversations about the Metaverse are dominated by the idea it is a space you will enter, typically via a VR headset.

Niantic CEO John Hanke has a different vision, one where the Metaverse is not constrained to a world you enter, but rather it is infused into the world you live in.

The Real World Metaverse

In his interview with Wired John explains his simple idea, that being outside is much healthier for humans than being locked away indoors, something that is entirely relatable as we approach two years of a Covid suppressed world and being online endlessly via Zoom becomes a soul destroying experience. Ergo the VR world Metaverse will be this x100.

So the opposite, inspiring ideal is that the Metaverse can enhance and improve our human experience. He recounts how those that played Pokemon Go, the first venture Niantic created on this journey, reported being physically active much more.

That’s certainly a much more encouraging vision of the Metaverse, one that brims with potential for a myriad of exciting scenarios of benefit to society and to business. Tourism in particular, where you can overlay a historical reenactment in the place it happened centuries before for example.

John’s mission now is to enable developers to build their own Pokemon Go type games and experiences. As TechCrunch reports they launched ‘Lightship‘, an AR Developer Kit (ARDK) that will make building augmented reality experiences more accessible. This free, openly available technology will help Niantic lay the foundation for its vision of the “Real-World Metaverse.”

Now THAT is a future to get excited about.

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