The major challenges facing AR gaming! Yes even Pokemon GO!
The lack of NPCs with AI
AR gaming is still to adhere to certain basics of gameplay such as introducing Non Playing Characters or bots that engage the user. Even games such as Pokemon Go that have taken the world by storm are yet to introduce AI into their game in a meaningful way. Pokemon are by definition NPCs but without a mind of their own and very few programmed ‘actions’ it is still in a very rudimentary form. The integration of AI into Augmented Reality gaming can reduce the dependency of the game on variables such as a critical mass of players and limited Points of Interest in the suburbs.
Procedural content generation (PCG)
PCG algorithms produce content through randomizations and so in theory when player preferences are factored in there can be limitless variations in the gameplay experience. For AR games such algorithms must analyse the players’ physical environments to create elements that can enhance such environments. Games such as No Mans Sky (Open world adventure game) that has been developed by Hello Games and Minecraft have set new standards in PCG. We are yet to see the use of such algorithms in AR gaming
This is one of the major challenges plaguing AR gaming and location based games in particular. Geo location based games are played from different locations and hence the story telling must localize the content to the players’ location to be effective. This requires the generation of points of interest and also using these pints of interest to create enjoyable side-quests for the players.
Lack of publishers
AR gaming suffers from a dearth of publishers. There are very few game studios in the space and given the immense budgets of the larger players it is almost a monopoly. The lack of competition in the space also means that the pace of innovation is also painfully slow. Niantic has been responsible for two of the biggest titles in the AR gaming space Ingress and Pokemon Go and also the backing of Google. The data on POI that has been accumulated through these games can help Indie developers create many more exciting games if it were shared.