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Nintendo Teams Up With Niantic to Develop a Host of New AR Games, To Start with ‘Pikmin’

The renowned gaming company Nintendo has recently announced its partnership with Niantic. The goal of the partnership, as stated by Nintendo, is to develop multiple new augmented reality games based on Nintendo characters. The company has also stated that the first game in this series will be based on the Nintendo franchise’s Pikmin and will be built using real-world AR technology by Niantic.

The Pokémon Go Succes

Niantic is widely known for Pokémon Go, the AR-based mobile game that took the world by storm. It uses the geo-location mechanics through which players can navigate in the real world to find the virtual creatures.

Commenting on the partnership, Niantic says that they have entered the venture to develop a host of brand-new AR titles with Nintendo, Pikmin being the first AR game of the series. The Pikmin series started back in 2001 as an RTS puzzle game on GameCube, where players can command packs of little plants. According to Niantic, the game is currently being developed by its Tokyo Studios group and will launch soon in the later months of 2021.

Considering their previous success with Pokémon Go, which was also partly owned by the gaming giant Nintendo, it only makes sense that these two companies would seek to expand their partnership for further achievements with new AR games and explore new ideas in this space.


                   Pokémon Go logo

The Future of AR

As AR games take flight in the current gaming environment, it raises so many pertinent questions regarding the future of AR in this domain. The big question in this context, however, is not whether the Pikmin and the following AR titles from the collaboration will make fruitful use of augmented reality technology or simply be built on the familiar geo-location mechanics; rather it makes room to ponder over the new opportunities in the space of augmented reality. Although the previous hit from Niantic, i.e. the Pokémon Go has been referred to as an augmented reality game by Niantic, the gameplay is largely reliant on mapping rather than trying to overlay digital information on the real world. The game indeed had some real AR functions, but that was majorly for aesthetic purposes and largely optional.

Expecting to see an improvement from the AR experts, it would be really exciting to see some more AR techniques in the upcoming titles. If the Pikmin game leans further into AR mechanics than the previous Pokémon Go, it would be a welcoming change for the players as well. At its minimum level, Pikmin is more suited for real AR mechanics, because the original game concentrates on controlling the virtual creatures within the game environment. This would be more grounded and attractive with appropriate AR visualization.


Niantic, however, does not promise any advanced AR features for Pikmin. But with more titles coming up from the partnership, we can expect better results in the AR space in the future. Moreover, Niantic is already showcasing a concept demo of their Pokémon Go built exclusively for proper AR devices that is running on Hololens 2. Therefore, it is highly probable that the company is heading towards more immersive technology for the forthcoming Nintendo titles.

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