The Avengers aren't the only shiny new toys available to Pixel handset owners, as the animated stars of the upcoming Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie have arrived in the Google Playground app.
Just weeks after bringing the headlining characters of the box office-owning Avengers: Endgame to the AR app, on Thursday, Google published a Playmoji sticker set that teleports Pikachu and his pals into your living room.
Of course, this isn't the first time Pokémon fans have had the opportunity to photograph their favorite pocket monsters in augmented reality. See, there's this little app called Pokémon GO; maybe you've heard of it? The game even added an enhanced realistic photo mode recently. But I digress.
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In addition to the title character, Charizard, Jigglypuff, and Mr. Mime are available to pose in the real world. After installing the Playmoji pack from the Play Store, users can place the characters in their environment via the Playground mode in their camera app. User can place all four pocket monsters into their camera view at once, and, as with other Playmoji, mix them with characters from other packs.
"The pack features Pokémon from the movie, fully animated and sounding just like their film counterparts," said Elisabeth Morant, Playground product manager at Google, in a statement. "And thanks to ARCore's motion tracking, light estimation and ability to understand the real world, they feel like they're really there with you. You can even take a selfie with Detective Pikachu and share a smile as he reacts to your facial expressions in real time via machine learning,"
While Playground is only available on Pixel devices, the Detective Pikachu stickers pack is available through AR Stickers on Moto Z3, Z3 Play, Z2 Force, G7 Plus, G7, G7 power, and G6 Plus via the Motorola Camera app and select LG handsets, namely the G7 ThinQ and V40. (Other Android devices can accommodate Playground for those determined enough to circumvent the device exclusivity.)
Since rebooting the AR Stickers app as Playground, Google has been intent on keeping content fresh, adding Childish Gambino, the expanded Avengers pack, and new theme packs to the existing roster of Star Wars, Stranger Things, and other original characters.
The Playmoji pack is the second AR promotion (so far) for the movie, joining the ongoing 7-Eleven promotion. (Coincidentally, this marks the second movie starring Ryan Reynolds that has benefited from a 7-Eleven AR tie-in.)
While using augmented reality to promote the franchise that lays claim the biggest AR app to date is fitting, what is unexpected is that The Pokémon Company has yet to call on Pokémon GO itself to promote the movie. Then again, there's still a week to go for Niantic to pull a Lopunny out of its hat.