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Fans Weren't Expecting This Pokemon AR Demo

Niantic, the company behind the Pokemon Go mobile game, gave fans an augmented reality (AR) surprise at Microsoft Ignite 2021, unveiling new technology designed to make the Pokemon universe more immersive.


In a video that showed off Pokemon Go utilizing the Microsoft Mesh software, fans saw the host, Niantic CEO John Hanke, explore a park with the HoloLens 2 from Microsoft. He brought out his Pokemon partner, Pikachu, gave it a berry, and even prepared for battle with a friend he met while out and about. He didn't control anything with his phone like Pokemon Go players do now – he simply held up his hand, which the HoloLens 2 recognized as a command prompt. A simple swipe of his fingers had Pikachu out of the ball and ready for battle.

In an announcement from Niantic about the technology, the company said that it "offered a glimpse of the potential for new AR experiences." Niantic also stressed that the demo was merely a "proof-of-concept" and "not for consumer use" in both the announcement and the video itself. While the new Pokemon Go is just a concept, the mixed reality headset isn't. You can purchase your very own HoloLens 2 for $3,500.


Players shared some of their best Pokemon Go AR snapshots in reply to the video. Twitter user Ash Ketzchup showcased a picture featuring Vaporeon, a sunset, and the beach. Another user offered up a picture of Deerling. You could also catch a very classy picture of Growlithe enjoying a boat ride with its trainer.

Niantic talked about big plans in its Microsoft Ignite blog post. According to the company, "when we talk about AR, we are talking about the beginnings of a fundamental shift in computing where the world itself (the atoms) comes alive with information and experience (the bits)." While Niantic recognized that this type of thinking will take time, it reiterated that "important software and hardware advances are laying the foundation today." 

Gaming has delved into technology that once felt restricted to sci-fi in recent years. Red Bull released an AR gaming app in early 2021 and even the legendary Nintendo theme park plans to include AR headsets with rides. It seems an increasing number of companies are keen on exploring all augmented reality has to offer.