McDonald's looks to capitalise on Pokemon Go success - Sue Allen
OPINION: If you thought the Pokemon Go phenomena was waning, think again.
Having brought augmented reality (AR) into the main stream consumers can expect to see a flurry of companies looking to get in on the AR act.
Last week, fast food giant McDonald's launched a new Monopoly game for diners in Australia and New Zealand using the same mix of reality and technology that also last week sky-rocketed Pokemon Go to become the fastest game app to reach US$500 million (NZ$683m) in revenue.
To put Pokemon Go's success into perspective for app gamers, that's more money, faster than Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and Puzzle & Dragons, which took between 200 and 400 days to reach US$500m.
Pokemon Go took just 60 days to get there, according to United States analytics company App Annie.
So, it's hardly surprising that corporates and marketing companies are looking to see how they can use AR technology in the hope of replicating even a fraction of Pokemon Go's success, which has shown that the smartphone can be a platform for AR.
The McDonald's Monopoly game uses a smart phone camera to view cards which are accessed in the restaurants.
Monopoly cards and a game then pop up around you when you are looking through the phone, allowing you to collect prizes, cards, and build your empire.
If you haven't experienced AR yet, then have a look at the BBC's Frozen Planet Augmented Reality video on YouTube and keep watching to about one minute.
There are lot of other examples once you start watching and it's something you really do have to see to believe. But many of these are big budget undertakings, putting this kind of high-spec AR out of the realm of most businesses.
But those who have the money are getting into it.
Lego is in the process of implementing AR-powered kiosks in their shops allowing customers to scan the Lego kit they are thinking of buying so they can view a 3D version of the finished product before parting with their money.
Ikea has AR catalogues which help customers visualise how its furniture will look and fit in your home; something Freedom Furniture in New Zealand had a foray into in 2014. So did Westpac NZ when it became the first to launch its AR banking app.
Converse shoes and Ray Ban sunglasses both have AR apps which let you try on their products virtually to see if you like the look, feel and colour.
With clothing retailers citing between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of their online sales being returned, using AR to give people a better sense of fit would be a massive cost saving.
And New Zealand is hoping to ride the wave of growing interest in AR and Virtual Reality (VR). AR superimposes digital information, such as holograms, onto real-life images of the world around us.
VR being a 3D co-generated simulation of real life, which the user is immersed digitally through wearing a headset.
Within a few days of each other, Wellington and Auckland both announced the establishment of hubs focusing on AR and VR development.
Auckland's AR/VR Garage is already up and running and aiming for 20 tenant companies by the end of the year.
Wellington's ProjectR centre is hoping to establish Wellington as a home for augmented and virtual development and testing, mirroring Wellington's success in attracting talent off the back of the film and digital industries which have grown up around the Weta group of companies.
Pokemon Go or not, AR is heading this way.
Sue Allen has worked in journalism, communications, marketing and brand management for 15 years in the UK and New Zealand.