Niantic has gone ahead and announced AR Plus, a new game mode that will be initially only available on iOS 11 devices (iPhone 6) onwards. The technical reasoning is simple: AR+ uses ARKit and ARKit is only available on iOS 11.
Unfortunately, we have no information to share for Android players as of now.
The following is now confirmed for AR Plus:
- AR Plus encounters will feature a realistic Pokémon scaling mechanism
- Scale: With AR+, Pokémon are now fixed to a point in space, meaning you can walk up close to a Pokémon to see to how they’ll look in the real world. Imagine looking up at a massive Onix or walking around a gigantic Snorlax blocking your path! This feature brings us one step closer to truly realizing Pokémon the way they are supposed to be represented in the real world. Pokémon GO AR photos will never be the same again!
- AR Plus encounters feature an Expert Handler bonus for careful trackers
- “Pokémon will run away if they become aware of the Trainers getting close, so be careful. You can sneak up close to earn an Expert Handler bonus, but think twice before running right up to that Charizard!”
- “If you’re able to catch a Pokémon while in close proximity, you’ll have a better chance at earning Great and Excellent Throw bonuses, as well as an all-new Expert Handler bonus that awards even more XP and Stardust.”
Android support not coming before AR Core releases
We don’t know how we feel about iOS and Android separation. The code base clearly states that AR Plus mechanics are a standalone feature, however, it is currently impossible to implement it on Android.
The entire Android platform is awaiting the release of AR Core, an AR framework which pretty much does the same thing as ARKit on iOS. The unfortunate truth is that AR Core is not ready yet – the latest news we’ve got dates back to December 15th, 2017, when ARCore Developer Preview 2 had been released.
The following statement was issued by Google’s Nikhil Chandhok, a Product Manager behind ARCore:
If you’re a developer interested in AR, now’s the time to start experimenting. In the coming months, we’ll launch ARCore v1.0, with support for over 100 million devices. And soon, many augmented reality experiences will be available in the Play Store. We can’t wait to see what you create.