Although Pokemon GO has had some degree of AR functionality since launch, it has largely been ignored by the playerbase due to the speed at which it drains phone battery (and lack of support on non-iOS devices). The AR mode has been improved in the past year to help address those issues, but it still hasn’t exactly caught on just yet. Niantic isn’t ready to give up on the technology just yet and is currently working on some very interesting improvements and functionality.
Niantic’s latest AR tech doesn’t all currently live in Pokemon GO, but the company has a tendency to use Pokemon examples when showing what the tech can do. A new video shared by CEO John Hanke doesn’t appear to be running in any build of Pokemon GO, but definitely hints at the previously teased Playground Mode that AR photographers have been begging for since the game’s launch.
Here’s a look at the video and corresponding tweet…
— John Hanke (@johnhanke) October 13, 2018
Players who enjoy AR would love a way to take AR photos with the Pokemon who they have already caught or evolved, rather than just during catch encounters. This limitation really holds back the creativity and freedom to capture great AR shots. The video Hanke shares hints at this feature by mentioning taking a friend out for a walk. This is exactly the kind of functionality that AR enthusiasts have been hoping for.
Unfortunately, this is likely just Hanke showing off some tech in progress and doesn’t mean that Playground Mode is arriving in the mobile game anytime soon. Clearly the tech is getting there, but implementing it into an already complicated mobile experience could take some time. Hopefully there is more official news on that in the near future.
Check back for updates and news in the coming days as we approach the big Gen 4 launch. Until then, good luck out there, trainers!
Pokemon GO is available now in select regions on Android and iOS devices.