When Pokémon GO was first revealed in September 2015, fans dreamt of an augmented reality (AR) experience that would seamlessly integrate Pokémon into the world around them.
However, when the mobile game released in Summer 2016, the AR functionality was slightly underwhelming, simply masking a Pokémon onto your camera when trying to catch it in the AR Mode.
Ultimately, this did not hamper Pokémon GO, which raked in over $1bn in 2020 alone. But now, it seems Niantic may be experimenting with further AR support following the release of a concept demo for Microsoft's HoloLens 2.
Pokémon GO's AR future
As part of Microsoft's Ignite 2021 event that gave further insight into the new mixed reality capabilities coming to the HoloLens 2, Niantic's CEO John Hanke starred in a video showing off a proof-of-concept Pokémon GO AR experience.
The demo showed Hanke walking through a park donning a HoloLens headset, in which he then interacted with a Pikachu using his hand to select a berry to feed to the Pokémon.
Hanke also met up with another player and their Eevee to begin a gym battle before the concept video ended. You can watch the full demo in the tweet below:
Can I play the Pokémon GO AR demo?
Unfortunately, this demo is not available for consumers to use at the moment. Commenting on the demo, Niantic said it "offers an early glimpse into the future evolutions in both software and hardware."
"We've only scratched the surface," Niantic said in its blog post. "We know the years ahead to be filled with important achievements which will serve as waypoints in AR’s journey to become a life-changing computing platform. We’re thrilled to be leading the way."
With Pokémon GO's five-year anniversary coming up this July as Pokémon also celebrates its 25-year anniversary, it seems 2021 could be the perfect time for Niantic to release a huge, more innovative Pokémon GO experience. Given that this was only a brief insight into Pokémon's AR capabilities, though, we'd be surprised if anything does come to fruition this year.