Augmented reality has been up and coming for years. There were already augmented reality games for Nokia N95. For various reasons it never really took off. Just as we ticked off augmented reality as the buzzword that will just dwindle and die, Pokemon GO happened. And in just couple of weeks Nintendo´s stock has gone up (and back down), searches for Pokemon porn (I did not even know about this subgenre) skyrocketed, many people have died, amount of daily users has surpassed Twitter and people spend more time on Pokemon Go than Facebook. And let me repeat, Pokemon GO is an augmented reality app.
The success for Pokemon GO is easy to dissect to these three principles:
1.Easy to start, hard to master
Pokemon Go is simple game, you can start it right away but mastering it takes a lot of time. If you need to explain what you get from VR experience it is too complicated, it has to work right away.
2.Global brand attracting wide range of audience
Pokemon works on many levels and many audiences. For some they are totally relevant at this life stage, for some nostalgia and for some just cute. Until there are blockbuster game or movie (with household name) done in VR, there will be no Pokemon GO phenomenon in VR.
3.Perfect combination of real and digital
Pokemon Go did what Fitbit failed to, got people moving. People still crave for human connection and perversely Pokemon Go has given it. We need cute characters to get us out, move and meet new people. Like Pokemon GO, VR makes our boring reality more interesting but it has even more opportunities. With VR you can totally escape your boring life. Quite an intriguing promise I would say.
Virtual reality will probably also be driven by porn, but there are still couple of hurdles for the success. The VR glasses are still quite clunky and you look dorky when you use it (not to mention you start feeling sick). Therefore, you need more people looking dorky that you can start using VR openly (e.g. skinny jeans, man buns, athleisure). Other part is that VR has not really yet come pass the stunt phase where it is just cool to do something with the technology instead of doing cool things that have true meaning. This is opportunity for advertisers though, because it is still quite easy to make good impression with quite basic VR installations especially in events. This Singleton section was one of the most popular booths in Epicurean festival in Singapore. Main reason was the virtual reality whisky tasting:
There is no question will the VR blow up. It will. The real question is timeline. Two months ago no one would have talked about augmented reality and now it is the hottest technology in town. In this digital age, you just need to one big hit and it will hit immediately.