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13 Anne Beuttenmüller, Director Marketing EMEA, explains why AR-Games raise mental & physical health

Anne Beuttenmüller is Director Marketing EMEA at Niantic, Inc. and focuses on customer experiences. To her, AR Games have many advantages compared to traditional gaming but obstacles like network capacity inhibit the full exploitation of the AR technology yet. Today, Niantic, Inc. is an AR platform used worldwide providing entertaining content. But more importantly, due to the engaging AR Games like Pokémon GO a broad audience became familiar with the technology.

The Expert

Anne Beuttenmüller


Director Marketing EMEA at Niantic, Inc


Gaming Industry

Points of contact with AR/VR:

private:

  • playing AR Games


professionell:

  • Optimizing the customer experience in AR games

"AR Games enable higher Exploration, Exercise and Social Interaction and increase customers’ mental and physical health."


Niantic, Inc. is a worldwide leading AR platform and is among the first company which focuses on AR games. By introducing Pokémon Go AR became accessible to a broad audience.

1) Out of which need and with which underlying motives did Niantic, Inc. focus on AR in the gaming industry?

From the beginning, we focused on the notion of exploring the possibilities that exist at the seam of AR and real-world physical location. Niantic’s mission is to enrich our experiences in the physical world by encouraging people to explore, exercise, and have meaningful, real-world social interactions.


Niantic Engineering: Building Planet-Scale Augmented Reality


2) What advantages do games in AR offer over traditional desktop games (mobile and stationary)? What further opportunities for development do you see through the applications in AR/VR?


There are three very specific advantages of our Real-World games:

1. Explorations

2. Exercise

3. Social.

We get players into the real world and have them exploring their neighborhoods by visiting real world locations. Players need to walk and exercise in order to play our games. We also integrated social elements meaning we encourage players to team up with others to play our games. All three elements increase the physical and mental health of our players.

A couple of weeks ago we introduced the feature “Reality Blending” in Pokémon GO. We are now able to understand the scenery and can place a Pokémon behind a tree for example. That feature gives us a glimpse of the future of AR where we will be able to place objects into the real world in real time.


Examples of Reality Blending, Source: Niantic


3) How were the first reviews of consumers and how are the reactions nowadays: Do you see an increase in acceptance and a faster access to AR games of consumers?

The launch of Pokémon GO helped AR technology to go mainstream. We see players of all ages, genders and backgrounds enjoying playing our games.



4) What are the challenges to maintaining consumers interest within an AR game? Could you derive learnings for companies, educational institutions and the entertainment industry which also want to maintain the attention of users within AR(/VR) applications?

Three of the biggest challenges are:

1. Mapping

2. Network capacity

3. hardware.

In order to place AR objects into the real world we need to understand and map the real world. We need to understand depth, speed, lightning, context e.g. weather basically everything in order to place an object as realistic as possible into the real work. It is very hard to do that and like I mentioned above our “Reality Blending” feature gives you a great glimpse into it. In order to map the world we need a strong mobile network. The next generation of mobile network 5G has the power to place AR objects into the real world in real time without latency. The last challenge is hardware. What hardware are we going to use? It could be something more convenient than even a phone in the future. There are different AR glasses and as our COO Megan Quinn just said we believe consumer AR glasses will be ready in the next 12-24 months.



5) Concerning the Corona crisis: Have you personally noticed changes in your professional or private environment with regard to the demand of niantic’s AR games (e.g. user, download rate in google playstore)?


At the start of the pandemic, we understood that our community needed new ways to engage safely. So we adapted by leaning into our advanced AR platform to enable more ways to play and interact within the COVID context. We’re proud of how quickly and skillfully our world-class engineers and product teams responded to enable connectivity to the real-world. As a result, players in all of our games have been able to remain engaged and connected, playing safely from wherever they are.

Next week on #digitalthursday we will talk to Martin Wassmann, who is responsible for Standardized Platform Development, Digitization, IoT and Cabin Engineering at Airbus and has previously worked for Vuforia, the Market-Leading Enterprise of AR. Martin Wassmann will give insights how IoT is connected with AR at Airbus and how AR helps the company to improve airplane construction.


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