Niantic became famous because they produced one of the highest grossing mobile games of all time with Pokemon Go. But what they have in store next might be even bigger. Niantic is currently developing a Harry Potter game. But not just any game. It, like Pokemon Go, will be a mobile augmented reality game. I added the last part to paint a picture for you of what’s to come. Which means, anyone who is a fan of Harry Potter will be all over this. As well as many others. The game, known as “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is being co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive.
This game was rumored to be produced last year, but something strange happened and it didn’t get made. The app is now official, but the details are a bit scarce. Including when it’s going to be available – sometime next year doesn’t really give us a lot of information. What we do know is that there will be significant influence from the Niantic game Ingress, which allows players to roam the real world collecting power-ups, defending locations and exploring the environments. The mechanics of Ingress would actually translate pretty well to the fictional world of Harry Pottery.
What’s interesting, in my opinion, is the AR aspect of this. We are starting to see AR being used on our mobile devices, in some really interesting ways. Obviously, there are many games and apps taking advantage of this, but to me, this feels different. There is a similar AR-based magical game called Maguss. It’s in early alpha stages. In Maguss, you can fight in raids and against magical creatures. You can also choose to buy a Maguss wand and use it alongside the mobile app. And this is why I think this is going to be big.
Through AR and VR people are getting more and more involved in elements that exist outside of their world. When I was a kid, we had 2D Super Mario. But I loved it. I loved going to this new world. Sure, it wasn’t real. But it gave me a sense of adventure and took me away from whatever was happening in my life at the time. (Note, I’m not complaining about my childhood, but growing up in a small town can be boring, so I needed an escape. And I was 7.) We also used to travel to Disney World, almost annually. I loved being there because I felt like I was part of that experience. And that’s what people want.
So yes – you can go to theme parks and experience your favorite movies. But AR and VR are opening up new worlds for us. Ones that allow us to be part of another world. We are able to spend time in the Harry Potter universe. And that’s what a lot of people want. I mean, that’s why we consume media, isn’t it? You watch a show or movie so you can either be entertained or experience something. The same can be said about reading books or comic books. So how is this different? It’s not and more games and experiences will start to be like this.