When Pokemon Go was released last year, it caused quite a stir. You could see people out with their smartphones looking for Pokemon, gathering in groups, risking their lives, being injured, and yes, there have even been deaths. With that in mind, developer Niantic is happy to talk about using audio in future augmented reality games.
Niantic CTO Phil Keslin attended the recent TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco event where he discussed the use of smartphones for AR experiences. He dismissed claims that people walk around holding their phones out looking for Pokemon, adding "It's very unnatural. It makes them look like a total doofus if they're doing it for an extended period of time."
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) September 19, 2017
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He went on to talk about earbuds and how people walk around with them in all the time. Niantic experimented with audio before Pokemon Go when it was focused on AR game Ingress. All kinds of audio cues were considered at the time, including calling the player when they entered a specific area to tell them what to do next.
Keslin confirmed that audio is certainly something Niantic is thinking about because, "I think audio is significant. It's one of our senses. It's one of things[sic] that really drives us. I want to look at ways to incorporate audio in future titles." So while Pokemon Go isn't likely to incorporate audio cues, the next Niantic game probably will.
Receiving a call from a game may be a little intrusive for some, but audio cues could certainly enhance an augmented reality experience and without running down your phone battery as it does when you are walking around searching for Pokemon looking like "a total doofus."