The mobile Augmented Reality (AR) market has been steadily growing in recent years and is estimated to be worth $29.3 billion by 2031. As Augmented Reality technology becomes more accessible to people, AR content will also become increasingly popular.
One of the most successful AR games to be released in recent years is Pokemon Go, which not only raised the profile of AR games but the possibilities, as well. While building an AR game is now more accessible than ever, it’s important to note that creating any game requires effective planning.
Keep reading to see what steps you should take to create your own Pokemon-like AR game.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- Mobile AR technology market trends
- The steps involved in AR game design
- The potential cost of creating an AR game
What Is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is a game that uses your phone’s location to populate a map of your area with Pokemon’s mythical creatures to catch and gyms to train them at. Some Pokemon only appear at certain locations or specific times, encouraging users to play in new places and at all times. After collecting and evolving your Pokemon, you’re able to use them in battle for extra upgrades and new Pokemon.
What Is AR?
Augmented Reality is the middle ground between life and Virtual Reality (VR). Instead of putting on a headset and experiencing a digital world, AR enhances reality with technology. Seeing everything through a digital lens can bring up more information from online, add in extra 3D models, or even highlight and label items for you.
Though AR is typically used through mobile cameras, Google is working toward creating glasses to make AR functionality more effective and convenient, but the possibilities are endless. Whether it’s used in a classroom environment, tourism, instant translation, or, in this case, gaming, AR is likely to become a popular tool for the general population going forward.
How Does Pokemon Go Use AR Technology?
Using the camera on your phone, Pokemon characters are displayed right in front of you to pet and catch all the same. The AR+ mode means that you need to approach the Pokemon without startling them in order to have a better chance of catching them. All of the AR tools implemented in Pokemon Go are aimed at putting the titular creatures in our world, bringing them to life like never before.
Popular AR Games Beside Pokemon
Pokemon Go may be one of the most popular AR games, but that’s not to say other games haven’t tried their hand at AR too. In fact, some of Pokemon Go’s competitors have used AR for the same purposes of bringing fantasy into reality.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Sharing the same developer as Pokemon Go – Niantic, Wizards Unite was a Harry Potter game that allowed you to collect a number of spells, potions, and ingredients. You could find specific creatures and battle the deadly dementors all right in front of you, thanks to the AR+ mode. Wizards Unite was removed from app stores Dec. 6, 2021, for failing to capture a large audience like Pokemon Go.
Jurassic World Alive
Similar to Pokemon Go, Jurassic World Alive is a game where you collect dinosaur DNA and breed dinosaurs for battle. It uses AR to show these fights in the real world, and populate your surrounding area with collectibles, once again bringing fantasy into our world.
In Knightfall AR, you play as the Knights Templar, defending a city from invaders. Rather than filling the world around you with upgrades, AR is used to make you feel like a commander with a bird’s-eye view, defending yourself from waves of attackers in a battle that plays out right in front of you.
Mobile AR Technology Market Trends
Valued at $4.4 billion in 2022, the Mobile AR market is expected to reach $29.3 billion by 2031. As AR technology improves along with the methods to use it, such as the Google glasses, the market will only continue to grow in accessibility.
As of June 2022, 30 percent of the AR market belonged to mobile apps and games. With most modern phones having a camera, most people have AR capabilities in the palm of their hand.
6 Steps to Developing an AR Game Like Pokemon Go
Building a game is far more than just the development. Here are the six crucial steps in developing an AR game like Pokemon Go.
1. Determine Genre
First things first, you’ll need to decide what genre your game will be, so you can begin to look at the core mechanics and features similar games focus on. This will also help you rule out unnecessary mechanics.
For some games, your movement may be important, whereas others might need a focus on aiming mechanics. You can also begin deciding on whether it’s first person, third person or, a top-down camera. The more you can confirm about your game at this point the easier it will be to list what you’ll need during development.
2. Develop Story and Game Mechanism
Not every good game needs a story, but it often helps. If your players have a reason to finish your game, no matter how trivial, it gives them a reason to keep going. After all, if you can craft a narrative that intrigues players and pushes them to progress, they’re more likely to continue playing.
You’ll need to consider how AR works in your app, what its purpose is, and how it serves the player. Your players could be finding collectibles in the world, or even building a fortress in their living room. The possibilities here are truly endless.
3. Design Control Scheme
Mobile games often implement a simple control scheme because the buttons and the screen space are shared. However, if your game is going to require fewer intrusive UI elements, you might not need to worry as much. Depending on what the core gameplay is, you could have as many buttons or menus as necessary.
Because you’re developing a mobile AR app, you need to factor in that the purpose of AR is to view fantasy in real life. While you still need a UI (User Interface) for buttons and tools, it’s important to keep it simple, so the player can appreciate what you’ve brought to your Augmented Reality.
Related Page: Graphic Design Services
4. Build Game Using an AR Game Engine
Now that you have a full vision of what your game looks like and how it will function, you can begin the development process. There are a few popular game engines that have added functionality for AR games, such as Unity and Unreal Engine, but you could also try ARKit for Apple devices.
For those that don’t have the expertise to develop a game themselves, you can always look to outsource. When outsourcing, it’s crucial to research a development team’s portfolio, looking for a consistent level of quality, exceptional post-release support, and previous projects of a similar nature.
5. Beta Test
Beta testing is important for any app, as this is where you offer an early pre-release copy of your game to a number of people of your choosing. You could release an open or closed beta – open being available to everyone on the app store and closed being people you’ve selected.
After your testers have had some hands-on time, you’ll begin to get bug reports and common errors with your app that you or your development team can swiftly resolve. You’ll get some real feedback on the general design, functionality, and entertainment value of your game. After your beta test, you can make any changes you feel are necessary for your game to succeed.
Related Article: Beta Testing Your App Properly Is the Difference between Success and Failure
6. Deliver Game to App Stores
Finally, you can deliver your game to the app store. Google and Apple have a fluid publishing route for you to follow, so you can get your game out there and start getting downloads.
However, this is not the end. Much like your beta test, you’ll still receive bug reports that need attending to, and user feedback to consider. Updates will let you resolve any faults the beta test didn’t pick up on, and implement some additional features.
AR Game Marketing
Marketing your AR game is no different from marketing any other game, and you have a range of ways to do it. Obviously, you’ll want to put your unique selling point on the front page, but there are some more effective methods to getting your app out there in the digital space.
App Store Optimization
Much like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), App Store Optimization (APO) is where you carefully manufacture your site or page to draw in more potential users. You can use specific keywords or hashtags to hone in on the millions of searches made each day. The main purpose is to help the search engine direct users who are likely to be interested in your product to the right place.
Related Page: Search Engine Optimization
Google Search Ads
You can also choose to run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Pay-Per-Impression (PPI) ads. PPC ads means you pay each time someone follows up on an advert placed by Google, whereas PPI will be every time they actively place your app in someone’s search results. While PPC ensures you’re only paying when somebody has shown an interest, it may give your app less exposure than PPI ads.
Social Media Marketing
Certain social media will also allow you to run PPC ads to gain exposure with users likely to enjoy your app. Given that you’re creating a game, you already know the interests of your target customer, but you can look further into the age or location of your target demographic. You could create specific ads for this. Alternatively, you could create cost-free, organic social media and choose to boost your posts at a later date.
AR Game Monetization
There are many methods of monetizing your game that can often be more effective than adding an upfront price tag. These methods of monetization are commonly used to build revenue alongside daily users.
Known as the “freemium” model, in-app purchases are common, as they’re an effective way to allow users to demo the game before deciding if they’d like to enhance their gameplay with purchases. Allowing your app to reach a larger audience by being free might be better than potentially turning away customers with an upfront payment.
Related Article: Understanding the SaaS Business Model and How It Works
Plenty of mobile apps offer spacing or circumstances for ads to run, whether you sacrifice some screen space or play an ad after each level. Offering PPC or PPI ads on your app to businesses will help bring in consistent revenue that will only rise with a continuously growing user base.
AR Game Development Cost
The cost of developing an AR game really depends on the complexity and features you intend to use. Some reports say Pokemon Go took 20 years and $600,000 to make; however, as the technology has become far more accessible, there’s no saying if it would cost this much today.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Mobile App Development
Idea Maker has extensive knowledge in app and mobile game development, and a lengthy portfolio to back it up. As the AR market increases, who better to support you when creating your very own game like Pokemon Go? For more information on how we can help, schedule a call with us today and start building your dream AR game.