Disney is letting people play Star Wars’ Dejarik holochess game for free on iOS. This is really neat for two reasons. To start, they’re letting you play the game for free. While this might seem like you should be able to play all games for free, that’s not always the case. The other reason is that you’re able to play the game in augmented reality through ARKit. This isn’t hugely exciting, but I do like to see how and when AR is being used in the real world. Maybe some of you don’t think that gaming is “real”, but I think it’s just one way of demonstrating its use. This new game is actually an update to last year’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR game, which originally included holochess, but it required the purchase of hardware accessories.
The ARKit holochess variant seems to be the same version from the original Jedi Challenges, just ported over so that users don’t need to buy the headset or lightsaber attachment — even instructions in the game tell you to “direct your gaze” to interact with the board. Because you’re playing the game on an iPhone, it is kind of small and hard to read. But it’s still a fun game to play. And like I said – interesting use of AR.
Star Wars: Jedi Challenges adds ARKit compatibility with this update. Users with an Apple device running iOS 11 can now experience the magic of augmented reality directly from their mobile device. Access the full Holochess game mode from Star Wars: Jedi Challenges including 18 levels across 6 planets and 8 unlockable creatures with unique special abilities.
Ok, so the truth is, you don’t get access to everything. You still need the headset and controller for Lightsaber Battles, and Strategic Combat game modes. But if this sounds cool to you, then you’re going to want to download it. And the best part? It’s free!
From a statistical perspective, AR is kind of doing well. Last month, Sensor Tower reported that iPhone and iPad owners worldwide have downloaded more than 13 million ARKit-only apps since the platform launched in September 2017. Games remain the dominant category for ARKit-only apps — defined as “expressly using” Apple’s framework, unlike Jedi Challenges — having grown from representing 35 percent of downloads one month after iOS 11’s launch, to 47 percent today.
Back in January, though, it was reported that the use of ARKit had slowed down since it’s debut in September, but these numbers suggest otherwise. I am extremely interested in AR. More so than VR, for example. I think there are so many ways that AR can benefit or improve our lives. While gaming isn’t exactly what I had in mind, it certainly showcases how the technology can be used and will give developers ways to think about what they need to create something amazing.
Although ARKit has removed the need for a headset in Holochess mode, anyone who wants to partake in Star Wars: Jedi Challenge’s Lightsaber Battles and Strategic Combat games will still need the Mirage headset.