It’s been a week since the launch of Pokémon Go, and to no one’s surprise, its popularity continues to rise. In fact, there’s a VR company that has its own concept version of the game working on Microsoft’s HoloLens.
David Robustelli, the head of digital at Amsterdam-based Capitola VR, showed off the project on Twitter and YouTube. Robustelli began the demo with Charmanders, Squirtles and Pikachus littered throughout the office, and then he used the air-tap gesture to throw a Pokéball and capture each Pokémon.
In the original game, the only time when players use augmented reality (AR) is when they have to catch a creature. However, there is an option to turn off the feature completely, so instead of attempting to catch a Weedle or Pidgey on the sidewalk in front of you, the game loads a virtual environment as the backdrop for catching Pokémon.
Even with the limited AR capabilities of the main game, Capitola VR’s work shows that Pokémon Go can expand beyond smartphones. The fact that the studio was able to get a prototype working on HoloLens means that there’s a possibility that the game could work as a full AR experience in the future. By using HoloLens, you could see local Pokéstops and Gyms in augmented reality, and you can catch that elusive Pokémon when it pops out of the tall grass with a single tap in the air.
Obviously, it’s up to the game’s developers at Niantic (as well as Microsoft’s HoloLens engineers) to test the waters for a full AR version of the game. Regardless, Capitola VR’s efforts prove that the idea can work. It’s now just a matter of time, as well as enough interest from players before the game gets the full AR treatment.