Virtual reality, for all its hype, found itself considerably overshadowed by the augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go’s use of AR technology isn’t new – its developer Ninantic used the same technology in its first title Ingress, launched in 2013 – but it blended it perfectly with a nostalgic IP to hit its target market.

It caught the world by storm, becoming the first app to hit 500 million downloads within two months, generating an estimated US$600M in revenue through in app purchases in only three months. Whilst the zeitgeist for Pokémon Go has faded, it is still making an estimated US$1.6M a day, and a release of a new suite of Pokémon in December will determine if the player loyalty is still there.

It’s the accessibility of AR via smartphone technology that is the key to Pokémon Go’s success. Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that AR will be much bigger than VR, and will eventually be part of our everyday lives. There’s market speculation that Apple will have hardware AR capabilities in the new iPhone, due to the dual cameras in the iPhone 7+ (two rear facing cameras can allow for depth perception), and Apple’s acquisition of several AR companies over the last two years.

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