Ready or Not, Augmented Reality Is Coming to Fantasy Sports and Dating Apps
It seems that mobile app developers are constantly coming up with new ideas to apply augmented reality, with Apple's ARKit promising to increase adoption in apps exponentially.
Recently, two developers came up with some rather unique ways to apply AR to familiar mobile applications. Depending on how you look at it, these are either really cool or very weird. Judge for yourself, and let us know in the comments section.
In fantasy sports, often jokingly referred to as "Dungeons and Dragons for jocks," there are two common methods for filling out rosters: drafting players in numerical order or placing bids auction-style. One company wants to give participants a third option: augmented reality.
Last week, AR Sports introduced a prototype augmented reality fantasy sports software that any fantasy sports platform can integrate into their sites. In this scenario, team managers would locate players, dispersed via an algorithm, in their physical vicinity. So, in other words, like the Pokémon Go of Dungeons and Dragons for jocks.
"We wanted to create a new interactive mobile game, keeping the traditions and excitement of fantasy sports while incorporating emerging technologies in augmented reality. We are building something fun and exciting while creating a new user experience," said Lenny Parisi, chief executive officer and founder of AR Sports via news release.
While the market potential for augmented reality is well-documented, fantasy sports are already a proven commodity. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (yes, you read that right), 57.4 million sports fans in US and Canada played fantasy sports in 2015, with players spending an average of $556 on the hobby annually. That's a billion dollar industry without counting associated advertising revenue.
As a fantasy sports player (and reigning champ in two leagues), I would not want to wage my chances of winning a competitive league on whether I am lucky enough to be at the right place to catch a top player when he spawns. However, I can see this being a hit with more casual leagues.
Now, excuse me while I try to hatch Odell Beckham, Jr. out of this 10k egg.
The forthcoming FlirtAR app promises to bring augmented reality into mobile matchmaking on iOS on Sept. 30 and Android on Oct. 30.
FlirtAR will replace the directional swiping of Tinder with facial recognition and geolocation. See someone you like out in the real world? Point your device's camera at them via FlirtAR and, if they happen to be a registered user, you can access their dating profile.
By taking matchmaking out of the phone and into the real world, the app's developer expects users to find matches more organically.
"People waste lots of time with traditional dating apps. They spend hours and hours of their valuable time looking for someone they never meet," said Renan Godinho, founder and CEO of FlirtAR, in a news release.
Now, if this sounds a bit creepy and stalkerish, FlirtAR emphasizes that privacy is safeguarded. Profiles are only revealed to registered users, who must authenticate through social networks and pass a "double verification process" to validate their identities.
That said, the app also has an invisible mode so that users can check people out without triggering a notification. Or, users can configure the app to make friends, not love.