We've reported on how augmented reality has the potential to increase our efficiency and make us smarter consumers, but there's been precious little about how data overlays can make our lives more fun.
DigitalBeat has a great story on how one augmented reality company is turning the world around you into the biggest online game ever.
Pixels and Policy investigates.
From the article:
[SPRX Mobile] will use a combination of a smartphone’s accelerometer, GPS and OpenGL
(which is an industry standard for developing 3-D computer graphics) to
create the effect. To accommodate limited processing power on phones
and data connections, Layar recommends limiting the complexity of 3-D
objects to 1,000 polygons.
This would represent its first serious foray into gaming and entertainment
As the article mentions, other companies have made inroads into the augmented gaming world, but none have developed a serious following or wide-scale commercial potential. Limited processing capabilities and the necessity of carrying an expensive smartphone limits the feasibility of augmented gaming in most cases – but for a few early adopters, the possibility is there.
What does this mean for gaming? Well, things will like get a lot more interactive as passive, indoor gaming becomes the enclave of nostalgia hounds. A recent report hosted by the National Institutes of Health cited the potential for physical therapy and exercise games among older people and convalescing patients. Adding fun to recovery certainly wouldn't hurt.
As technology expands, games will follow. First-Person Shooters in every sense of the word are a natural extension of augmented gaming's strengths, even if this will create an entirely new aspect to the "games as violence trainers" argument taken on by anti-game advocates. In time, technology could integrate other living people as avatars in a worldwide online game.
As of now, most augmented gaming companies are funded by angel investors who see progress as worth the risk of financial loss. Once a major developer breaks through the skepticism, though, we may see some truly amazing technology.