When Pokémon Go took the world by storm last year and turned us all into blind wandering zombies, it gave us a scintillating glimpse into the possibilities of augmented reality. Though the game had a short shelf life, one thing was clear: AR would soon become the future of mobile gaming.
On Monday, we saw further down the AR rabbit hole when Peter Jackson’s WingNut AR previewed its first game at the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. With some help from Apple’s upcoming ARkit and the game engine Unreal 4, WingNut AR creative director Alasdair Coull unveiled a “tabletop game” that wowed those in attendance and ignited a furious buzz online.
Peter Jackson’s company WingNut AR is doing an AR demo on apple keynote. Pretty cool pic.twitter.com/QCLEkH2OYf— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) June 5, 2017
This Wingnut AR demo is amazing. pic.twitter.com/DHd8MQbk9H— Josh Farkas (@JoshuaFarkas) June 5, 2017
Those in attendance saw a virtual town under attack by hostile airships, which forced some of the digital townspeople to flee by jumping off the table and plummeting to their death. What stood out most—especially in comparison to the primitive AR of Pokémon Go—was the realistic perspective of the objects and landscapes on the table. And while there’s no exact date set for the release of this mystery game or any other games for that matter, WingNut AR is expected to have content available in the app store by year’s end.
In the long run, it’s Apple’s hope that ARKit will be its antidote to Google’s stranglehold on phone based augmented reality. Some more practical applications of ARKit could involve an IKEA app that allows consumers to virtually place items of furniture in their home to see what they would like before actually making a purchase.
Of course, the technology is still in its nascent stages. But Apple making ARKit an integral part of iOS proves that it realizes that AR is indeed the future. And that future is a lot closer than we think.