In another interview with the German news outlet Wired, John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic shared more information on potential future events in Pokémon GO. In this interview, Hanke talks about two major things:

  • potential migration of regional Pokémon and
  • smart glasses as future of Pokémon GO

As the original article is in German, here’s the most important bit’s translated and commented.

Interview transcript

The interview kicks off with Hanke catching Swinub for the first time in Berlin and his statement that San Francisco is flooded with Krabby’s.

Almost immediately after that, Hanke drops the bomb and points out that “some monsters (Pokémon) only live on certain continents – maybe there will be a migration someday”!

The interview continues with Hanke highlighting his love for Augmented Reality and confirming that they will “expand their platform to support the relevant devices – as soon as there is enough of them on the market.”

Hanke continues to shed more info on the future of AR gaming, with deeper focus on team play. In his own words, the core game mechanics will remain the same, but “it is about creating incentives for cooperation and the joint game with others. This is really the core of our games.”

He touched on his earlier statements that he wants to provide more off the screen gameplay, clear stating that he was referring to AR glasses: 

They would make it possible to play the game in a way to keep your head up, to keep eye contact with other people. You would see all the cool stuff around you. Our goal is to discover new places of a city you have never seen before. This is easier if you do not have to constantly look down on your smartphone.

The interview continues with Hanke firmly defending the concept of AR smart glasses and their role in improving the world around us. He is a firm believer in AR glasses and he hopes that such hardware is going to become available soon, but confirms that Niantic is still not developing AR devices:

We are looking for ways to speed up the assumption of Augmented Reality. I would not rule out that hardware can help. But at the moment we are not developing AR devices.

Continuing the talk, Hanke discusses problems with current AR apps and currently available technology: GPS and compass proved slow, battery draining and unreliable. He introduces a new concept: AR beacons.

The Beacon knows I’m standing in front of an easel. I could then, for example, hang up my phone and read a secret message. We can not realize this at the moment, because we do not know precisely where I stand. If we know the position better, however, it becomes possible.

In his mind, AR beacons in combination with other 3D technology such as HoloLens or Project Tango, can create a realistic 3D environment to catch Pokémon in the actual real world space.

He concludes that AR is not a new concept, we already have similar technology in our smartphones. AR is just a new interface for this.