Well, it’s safe to say Pokémon GO VR is now confirmed – in a Half-Life 3 kind of way at least – after a savvy user spotted the mention of Google Cardboard in the games licenses information.
This indicates that the game may be set to receive some sort of VR compatibility update in the not too distant future, as the app contains code that makes use of the Google Cardboard VR, as well as licensing information that shows that Google cardboard was one of the open source software’s used to help create Pokémon GO.
The game in its current form uses augmented reality (AR), where in-game elements – in this case, Pokémon – are projected onto the view of the players smartphone camera to make them appear in the real world. This is clearly different from the concept of VR, which aims to achieve the whole virtual reality thing by completely immersing the player in a virtual environment which they can then explore in-game.
The suspected application of Pokémon GO VR is to keep the same augmented reality model, but use the camera of the phone whilst it is in the Google Cardboard, thus meaning that you see the Pokémon in front of you without having to look at your phone – because all you see is your phone. This is of course, entirely speculation, with there being a couple of obvious problems.
Firstly the difference in quality between the smartphone camera and human eye could lead to motion sickness. This is not ideal, as I don’t think many people would appreciate being thrown up on by that crazy guy/girl with their phone strapped to their head whilst on their daily commute. Secondly, it would only amplify the safety concerns already posed by the game, with field of vision whilst wearing the Google Cardboard being restricted it could cause more injuries or even provide an incentive for criminals.
Whilst Pokémon GO VR may be coming sooner or later, it’s safe to say there are a number of issues that would have to be addressed, but in Nintendo’s hands I’m sure everything will work out fine. In the mean time, we can just hope for an announcement of a full VR Pokémon title. Well, at least dream about it.