Last year when Pokémon Go was briefly a massive augmented reality game phenomenon, I wrote this:
There hasn't been as huge a franchise linked to an AR game before, nor such a perfect fit - "catch them all" has been Pokémon's tag line/game mechanic for decades, which practically demands an AR implementation. If that's right, that also defines the limitations of AR MMOs as a genre. (And you know dozens of games will try to compare Pokémon Go's success.) To succeed in a truly massive way, the game needs to be linked with a massive, well-established brand that has "fantastic, invisible parallel world" integrated into its branding. From where I sit, only the Harry Potter franchise could qualify there.
Thing is, I also said last year that Pokémon Go success would help augmented reality itself become massive. And yeah, no:
According to a new comScore report, Pokemon Go peaked with 28.5 million users in the United States on July 13th, 2016. That just one week after the game launched — a stunning feat for any app. By the end of the month, that number had fallen to around 20 million users and dropped to 10 million by September... While Niantic certainly would have preferred to be able to maintain the unprecedented momentum that the app received in its first month, five million users is still nothing to scoff at. Even if that number has shrunk further in 2017, it’s still an achievement.
5 millions is enough to know there's a market for AR games based on big franchises, but nowhere enough to say AR as a category in itself is big. But the Harry Potter franchise probably has a larger global following than Pokemon. So maybe this time and this franchise is the one to make augmented reality finally have its time. (As has said at other times before.)
Thanks to reader Lee T. Guzofski for the tip!