Pokémon Go developer Niantic could be undertaking the next leap in augmented reality (AR) mobile gaming.
Niantic appears to be working on some new hardware according to a post by CEO and founder John Hanke. The image teases what looks like a set of AR glasses with the company’s branding on the frame.
The caption reads “Exciting to see the progress we’re making to enable new kinds of devices that leverage our platform.”
Pokémon Go‘s explosive popularity strengthened Niantic’s hold on unique AR mobile games, which started with Ingress. The game has already inspired external devices such as the Pokémon Go Plus wristband that enhances the game experience. Though, AR glasses could be the drastic next step in immersion.
Niantic began to explore external AR devices in 2019 when they partnered with Qualcomm to accelerate development. This could potentially allow players to see Pokémon in real-time and the environment as they explore without the need of a phone screen.
Earlier this year, Pokémon Go was used as an application to demo Microsoft’s AR technology the HoloLens. But this integration is not expected to be available to the public any time soon.
One key difference between the HoloLens and the mock glasses shared by Hanke is the size. The HoloLens in its current state is quite bulky, while in the limited visible portion of Hanke’s image, the eyewear appears more like akin to the size of traditional glasses.
Later this year, Niantic will release their second Nintendo-based AR experience in the universe of Pikmin.