Every day, Pokemon comes closer and closer to becoming reality. First, Pokemon GO gave the world a peek at how things would be if Pokemon were real, but only through the lens of one's mobile phone. Today, Microsoft gave a look at Pokemon GO through a different kind of lens... the Microsoft HoloLens 2, to be exact.
At today's Microsoft Ignite 2021 keynote, the tech giant demonstrated the future capabilities of its aforementioned AR headset through a proof-of-concept video. The demo didn't show how this would work for consumer use, but it did visualize the potential in HoloLens technology by combining it with the highly successful Pokemon GO.
Niantic CEO John Hanke hosted this showcase, walking through a park populated by augmented reality Pokemon that are even more interactive than GO's current AR functionality.
After walking past a horde of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, and several other Pokemon, Hanke then interacts with a Pikachu by throwing out its Poke Ball and feeding it a Razz Berry. Actions are activated through an interactive AR interface that appears when Hanke holds up his left arm, meaning one will theoretically not need a phone at all for this version of the game to work. The demonstration ends with Hanke meeting up with another HoloLens user for a battle, pitting Hanke's Pikachu against his colleague's Eevee, ending the presentation.
This entire video is very clearly a proof-of-concept, as stated by a disclaimer in the bottom right corner. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 came out in 2019 with a very limited supply and very high price, even now still costing $3,500. It will take a good while for anything resembling this device to become easily accessible by consumers, but this demo at least gives a peek at how apps for these devices may look in the future. While AR devices are not accessible yet, they still could be in the future, especially as companies like Valve are rumored to be breaking into that technology.
It's hard to judge if this demonstration will be at all reflective of the final product, if it ever even materializes. Tech demos like these are often nothing more than tests, something meant to showcase technology rather than create a fulfilling gameplay experience. What Microsoft and Niantic show in the video seems ambitious, but fans will not know if that ambition will pay off for a few years. In fairness, the ideas presented here have a lot of potential, and if the two companies can live up to it, then Pokemon may be closer to becoming real than ever before.
A new season is arriving in Pokemon GO and some of the most exciting features are going to come from top tier Battle Raids. The Season of Legends, as the name implies, is putting a focus on the Legendary aspect of PoGO gameplay and that means rolling out some exciting Legendary and Mega Raids to get players out and battling in the mobile AR game.
Throughout March 2021 there are going to be some very exciting opportunities to encounter new Legendary forms by completing Battle Raids. While February 2021 was really a throwback Legendary month that focused on the earliest generation of Legendaries, March is heading in the other direction and bringing Landorus and Thundurus into the Pokemon GO spotlight.
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