Augmented and Virtual Reality is Changing the World of Marketing

Pokémon GO’s success has marketers paying more attention to augmented reality

If you’ve been online or watched the news in the past month, you’ve heard of Pokémon GO. This application has been downloaded millions of times and has accrued more active users than Twitter — all within 30 days of its release. Lots of video games and applications have been wildly successful before, so what makes this one so different? Augmented reality (AR).

The Poké Phenomenon

Software such as Pokémon GO enhances the world we live in. This game generates digital creatures from the old Pokémon game we grew up with, but now they are out in the virtual world. When you’re close enough, the screen will change and the fictional creature is shown in your surroundings. The placement hasn’t been perfected by any means, but as you can see, the results often are impressive.

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How it has Changed the Market

This game has people walking around town in an effort to catch fictional critters. That much is understood, but how is it affecting businesses? The GO players, called trainers, can visit specific real-world locations to stock up on digital supplies. Parks, statues, museums, and post offices are some examples of places that are drawing people on the hunt for Pokémon. Trainers can collect these goods every few minutes and come in droves to do so. Nintendo has announced plans to allow businesses to sponsor locations and, in turn, see waves of new customers. A simple hashtag letting the world know your business is a Poké Stop can be advertising gold.

Consumer response to Pokémon GO has been tremendous. The mixture of technology and reality certainly is here to stay, and companies are clambering to create their own ways to exploit the advancement. Augmented reality has the capability to mobilize people like never before and to expose audiences to places they may not have the opportunity to visit in the real world.

VR vs. AR For the Future of Marketing

Virtual reality (VR) is another force that’s changing our world. Whereas AR integrates with the environment, VR replaces it. It’s the most immersive type of technological experience. Businesses are snagging opportunities to use it. Coca Cola, for example, set up a “sleigh ride” that took users through a fantasy landscape. As users move and turn their heads, the scenery shifts and responds to give the impression that they’re truly in another world.

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What once was restricted to large and costly setups is becoming increasingly mobile. Modern smartphones such as the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6S Plus are powerful enough to offer the experience to just about anyone. Companies such as Freefly VR manufacture headsets to fit these devices, and more and more businesses are building apps that will drop users into a digital environment.

Preparing for the Future

The true potential of AR and VR has not yet been realized. If you consider it another online tool, it can become another strategic weapon in your arsenal, though we are at early states. Avoid the temptation to consider this just a kid’s game. It’s important to remember how powerful this software can be. It’s turned a 90s fad into the most successful mobile game ever created in less than one month. It is anyone’s guess how far this technology will go.