Niantic published a new post, detailing the upcoming changes to the in-game Augmented Reality functionalities.

After reading the post, we reached out to our iOS development sources to find out more about the ARKit demo. The details are below, but be warned, your hype levels could go through the roof.

Niantic announced two big improvements to the AR mode:

  • Better Pokémon encounters in the wild and
  • A brand new AR Playground mode that enables users to see, place and play with their Pokémon in the AR world

The AR Playground mode is part of the ARKit Pokémon GO tech demo and enables developers to place Pokémon anywhere in the world around them, or better, on any plane around them.

More details about the ARKit demo

In order to find out more about the AR Playground, we reached out to an iOS developer with access to the demo. Our source confirmed that the following is possible with the PoGO ARKit demo:

  • Clicking on models triggers their Pokédex animation
  • You can place Pokémon anywhere around you
    • “It’s buggy, not as smooth as the stage demo, but works. Lots of clipping though, especially with bigger models.”
  • Swapping out Pokémon and moving them in space
    • The demo had a sandbox mode to place any Pokémon, login is not required
  • Walking around your Pokémon and walking from and to your Pokémon
  • Pokémon models do not interact with each other and they have no collision detection with each other
  • Currently, no other actions are possible (feeding, petting, walking)
  • The model doesn’t follow you and doesn’t have a walking animation (it’s a tech demo for ARKit, not for an improved Buddy feature)

The official blog post shows a high resolution version Chikorita, Growlithe, Pikachu and Charizard, but our source did confirm that the official image looks much better than what they experienced, although not too far off.

Niantic shared the following images as official ARKit demo images for Pokémon GO:

Pokémon GO AR Playground

Pokémon GO new AR Capture Encounter

Parting words

Before you board the hype train, we would just want to highlight that these features are part of a technical demo. They show what is possible, and not necessarily what is coming to the game.

However, we are quite sure that Niantic is going to push hard to actually introduce this as an actual in-game feature. It is as close to having actual Pokémon as it gets.