Pokemon GO 5G aims to bring Pokemon to “the real world”

Chris Burns - Jan 10, 2020, 11:13 am CST
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Pokemon GO 5G aims to bring Pokemon to “the real world”

Niantic is working to leverage the oncoming new world of 5G connectivity to allow Pokemon GO to become the primary Pokemon game. The Pokemon Company and Niantic have a sort of interesting relationship at the moment, what with Niantic creating the Pokemon GO game separate from the standard development of each new generation of Pokemon. But as 5G begins to cover the world with high-speed streams of connectivity, and Niantic’s future vision for gameplay with Pokemon GO begins to bloom, The Pokemon Company may have to – sorta – re-negotiate their position.

The original vision

Pokemon GO began as an April Fools joke. If you look back at late March, 2014, you’ll see the initial spark. It was in that “Google Maps Pokemon Challenge” that the folks at Niantic (still inside Google back then) saw great potential.

In that masterpiece of a video you’ll see the then-overzealous vision of the Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge. Some of the elements in that video made their way into the game Pokemon GO. Some were ahead of their time.

With 5G onboard

That video was released over half a decade ago. With the advances made in augmented reality since then, the vast majority of what’s shown in the video is about to be made entirely possible – and reasonable.

Below you’ll see the “Shared AR Experience Tutorial” from Niantic. This system is out – live – ready to roll in Pokemon GO right now. We’ve got the ability to sync elements from multiple devices into one, single vision that can be viewed from several devices.

Travel back in time and show this to someone in 2016: they’d think it was pretty neat. Travel back to 2006 and everyone that sees it will flip their lid.

The demo here is for a standing-still in-place sort of photo session. It’s pretty fantastic, but compared to what’ll be possible once we’re connected with the speeds and bandwidth allowed with 5G, this will seem rather rudimentary. The developers at Niantic know this – they’re preparing for this future.

Preparations already made

Niantic supports and is a part of the GSMA Cloud XR Forum. This is a collaborative effort – a sort of agreement to pool resources – for the advancement of AR and VR in the realm of 5G.

Niantic announced involvement with the Open Edge Initiative with Carnegie Mellon University. They’ve partnered with Deutsche Telekom to bring their platform to Deutsche Telekom’s MobiledgeX Edge Servers and 5G network – all the way back in October of 2018! They’ve been preparing for 5g in some very interesting ways for years!

Niantic’s dream

“We are opening this new gateway towards new design possibilities,” said Niantic AR game integrations technical lead Rob Guisti. “We’ve helped make the dream of being a Pokémon Trainer in the real world come alive. What are some other ways we can bring fantasy to the real world and create meaningful experiences?”

Niantic spoke about their Buddy Adventure business (as shown above) and dropped another major clue. “One way we’re already working toward this seamless melding of the digital and real is with our partnership with Qualcomm to collaborate on new kinds of AR devices that will completely transform how we approach our games and augmented reality.”

The original dream is the ultimate dream. Everything we’ve been doing in Pokemon GO until now has just been a play test. The real 5G-enabled Pokemon GO experience will (crossing fingers) be the real deal.


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