News: Niantic Promises More AR in Pokémon GO on the iPhone with ARKit

Niantic Promises More AR in Pokémon GO on the iPhone with ARKit

Niantic Promises More AR in Pokémon GO on the iPhone with ARKit

Pokémon GO's augmented reality journey is continuing with Apple's newly announced ARKit. It's no surprise considering Pokémon GO is the largest mainstream augmented reality game, with 500 million downloads.

Apple mentioned Pokémon GO specifically during WWDC event last week, but only briefly. Now, a Niantic blog post details what exactly the ARKit would mean for the future of Pokémon GO. And honestly, it's pretty cool.

Niantic began the post by stating:

Utilizing this exciting advance in AR, we are working to create new, fun and innovative ways to place Pokémon in the world around you, to view Pokémon, and to use your phone to capture the moment. The digital world will overlay the real world in more detailed and accurate ways and you will be able to interact with Pokémon in a more immersive and life-like fashion.

— Niantic

So what does all this mean for us trainers?

First, according to Forbes, Apple's ARKit is going to track where the ground is while you're using it. Have you noticed while the app projects Pokémon into the world around you, the animated characters are floating and don't look that realistic because it's not touching the ground? Usually, this makes it much harder to center it on your screen to catch them, which has led to many turning the AR switch off altogether.

The ARKit promises to help this issue. By tracking where the ground is, you won't see random floating Rattatas and will more easily be able to snatch them up, without turning your AR off.

ARKit improvement on Pokémon GO at WWDC. Image via Apple

Even better, Niantic also noted that you will now be able to take group shots of your Pokémon using the AR mode — a long sought after feature for Pokémon GO fans. Previously, you were only able to take a photo with wild Pokémon, which meant you couldn't pose pictures and you could not choose the location of the photos. You had to take wherever the wild Pokémon spawned.

Forbes is calling it the "family photo" feature, but Niantic calls it "AR Playground mode." You'll be able to pick many Pokémon for a group shot, position them the way you want to, and then choose the ideal location for your Pokémon to pose. We don't know yet how many Pokémon you'll be able to fit in one image, especially based on their sizes.

(1) AR Playground Mode, (2) Improved AR Encounter Mode. Images via Niantic

In any case, the best part of Pokémon GO has always been the social aspect, and this is certain to improve that.

These updates are likely not even the full scale of what's to come for Pokémon GO using Apple's ARKit. While iOS 11 and ARKit won't be hitting iPhones until the fall, Niantic's blog post promised that we'd be hearing more about what's next for Pokémon GO in the coming months.

Cover image by Tumisu/Pixabay

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