Live from GDC: Augmented Reality Games Are Here Big Time

Augmented Reality games made a splash at GDC 2011.

From a first ever mention in a GDC keynote, through multiple dedicated talks, and major product presentations on the exhibition floor – augmented reality games are warmly embraced by the gaming industry.

1) Qualcomm’s talk and major AR presence throughout the event

Jay Wright spoke about the opportunities with Qualcomm’s AR SDK and showed examples of mobile AR games, applications, services and best practices for engaging new adopters. Qualcomm was visible throughout the event championing AR games, including a series of demos of AR games from their developer challenge presented on the show floor.

For an in-depth interview about Qualcomm’s offering check out this YouTube video

2) Ogmento’s talk and demo of its new geo-social AR game

Terrance Cohen and Oriel Bergig from Ogmento gave a fantastic talk – “Taking the Purple Pill: Lessons Learned Building a Platform for Social Augmented Reality Games.” Awesome job, guys!
The talk was accompanied by demos of never-before-seen technical and experiential achievements in this game. No video of the talk is yet available, so to get a sense of the game checkout the trailer:

Several other talks mentioned augmented reality as an emerging field such as Booyah’s Keith Lee.

3) Nintendo 3DS AR games demo

Archery – one of the best single card AR games I have seen so far, was available for playing on the show floor. The experience is distinctly different than any other type of games you can play on PC, consoles, or portables. 5 other games are in the pipeline and should hit the US market by the end of March.

Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo gave the main keynote of the event: “Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future.” I was blown away when AR Games were mentioned as the first attractive feature of the upcoming 3DS.

I am pretty sure it was the first mention of AR in a GDC keynote EVER.

3) Augmented Reality demo on Sony’s Next Gen Portable

Sony’s next generation portable (code name for the upcoming PSP) was not available for playing at the event (you could only appreciate it behind a glass case), but a cool demo at a Sony talk (via Shack News) showed a little bit of its potential. And not surprisingly – AR was once again its main attraction – a full size dragon marching among the audience!

5) AR Drone made a return appearance

We are almost accustomed to seeing this fantastic use of AR with the easy to maneuver quadrocopter, in game industry events, and GDC 2011 was no exception.

6) Sony Move and Microsoft Kinect games

Sony and Microsoft presented a bunch AR games on Move and Kinect respectively – which by now almost feel like mainstream. Man, AR has made a long way since 2009.

So how does GDC 2011 compare with GDC 2010 and GDC 2009’s Tiny Spark of Augmented Reality?
In a nut shell: if in 2010 Augmented Reality made progress in mind share, in 2011 it’s making a significant impact on new products; it’s popping up everywhere. That is awesome.


When will EVERYBODY at GDC be talking about AR?

When will AR games win major awards at GDC?

It’s coming real soon, don’t miss it folks!

2 Responses

  1. darn, wish I went to this years GDC rather then last years :(

    Anyway, exciting times now. I really think the games industary could become the driving factor behind major AR development….akin to how games did for PC graphic card development.

  2. […] Augmented reality is getting trendy Augmented reality has been around for a long time but it has been getting a lot more attention in various fields lately. Unveiled as a prototype at CES 2010, the Parrot AR drone final version, an iPhone-controlled helicopter with AR game capabilities, was shown this year at CES, and it is one good example of what augmented reality can bring to gaming. Augmented reality games had a strong presence at GDC 2011, Sony showed an augmented reality demo on its next generation portable (code name for the upcoming PSP). We did not cover the show this year but you can read the GDC AR roundup on Games Alfresco. […]

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