With over 1.4 billion augmented reality devices currently in use, the market size for augmented reality games is expected to reach $38.03 billion by 2027. Interactive games such as Pokémon Go led to massive awareness about AR games, and there has been a lot of development since then.
Large companies such as Google, Microsoft and Meta have developed state-of-the-art headsets that allow users to superimpose 3D virtual images onto their real-life environments. Apple has also played a tremendous role in sparking AR adoption by including AR compatibility on all their newer smartphones.
- This article provides an extensive overview of the Augmented Reality games you should play in 2023.
- Augmented reality games are interactive and immersive games that allow users to experience both physical and virtual worlds in real time.
- Augmented reality and Virtual Reality are both completely different, as augmented reality offers realistic physical world experiences with the inclusion of virtual elements. In contrast, virtual reality immerses users in a “virtual” world.
- There are many different augmented reality games that you can enjoy in 2023, such as Pokémon Go, Pong AR, Knightfall AR, etc.
What Are Augmented Reality Games?
Augmented reality games involve the use of AR-compatible devices to superimpose virtual 3D elements onto the user’s view of their physical surroundings. This surreal experience allows users to immerse themselves in mixed reality to complete various objectives. Players may have to move around in their real-life surroundings to explore the games.
The games utilize the cameras and sensors on AR devices to map a user’s surroundings accurately. After the physical environment has been successfully mapped, 3D virtual objects are overlayed onto a user’s physical surroundings.
There are certain challenges that AR developers have to overcome. For example, since the users can be in any physical environment, the surroundings cannot be preprogrammed and must be mapped in real-time in milliseconds.
It is also difficult for game developers to create locations that players will want to explore. Game developers may provide many gaming “canvases” by leveraging the user’s surroundings as the playing field, keeping player interest for a prolonged duration.
The best benefit of augmented reality games is that users do not need expensive high-end devices to play them; they can experience AR using their smartphones. Thus, this eliminates the need for pricy bulky headsets, and users also have the freedom to walk around in their surroundings to complete objectives.
What are the Differences between Augmented Reality Games and Virtual Reality Games?
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are categorized under Extended Reality but have completely different working mechanisms and provide unique experiences. AR devices enhance real-world environments by overlaying virtual objects, whereas virtual reality immerses the users into a fully customized virtual world by cutting them off from the physical world.
Different Working Mechanisms
In augmented reality games, players view the world through a device that maps the environment using inbuilt cameras and sensors. Players can interact with both physical and virtual world elements simultaneously.
In comparison, virtual reality games consist of fully customized virtual environments in which players can immerse themselves. To play these games, users must purchase VR headsets, such as the MetaQuest2, that completely cover their eyes and shut out their physical surroundings. These headsets also contain several sensors that allow users to look around in a 360-degree field of view, thus allowing complete immersion.
Different Hardware Requirements
Virtual reality gaming requires headgear, controllers, and other gaming elements as per the requirement of the game. In contrast, augmented reality gaming is free of all this hassle, and users can easily enjoy their games on their tablets and smartphone devices by just installing the game on it.
Freedom of Movement
Moreover, Augmented Reality gaming expands the playing field by allowing users to move around and explore the physical world to find virtual objects. In contrast, virtual reality gaming experiences are limited to the developments made within the game.
Since VR games require the use of VR headsets, the overall cost of playing them is higher than AR games. Users can easily play AR games on their smartphones without needing to purchase any other expensive hardware.
Top 12 Augmented Reality Games
Augmented reality games are becoming increasingly popular, and there is no doubt that the gaming industry will continue to thrive with all modern developments. So, here we have compiled the top 12 augmented reality games you should play in 2023.
This fantasy-themed AR game revolves around keeping the city of Acre safe from invading forces known as the Mamluk Warriors. Players can shoot at incoming troops using slingshots, fire and much more by using the user’s viewpoint as a targeting mechanism.
After you defeat different enemy forces, you can loot them to get money to fortify your city and create reinforcements. The game offers several challenges that users can complete to stay entertained and provides an overall exciting experience. One such element of the game is “Photo mode,” which lets you select game figures and animations to share with friends.
This unique AR game is a pirate-themed multiplayer version of treasure hunting. After providing camera permissions, players can walk around their physical environment and select a spot to bury a treasure. Once buried, the player can give their device to their play partners to “find” the treasure.
The partner has to solve a series of clues and walk around to locate where the treasure has been buried. A big red “X” marks the exact spot, and it takes a bit of trial and error to move around to find the right place to dig up the treasure. It’s an extremely fun game to play with your friends, and you can also explore the world around you in the process!
With over 1 million downloads and thousands of active users, Zombies, Run! is a unique Augmented “audio” fitness game. After The Walking Dead announced the plan to sunset their AR game, many zombie enthusiasts were looking for a similarly themed game.
However, in this game, the goal is not to kill zombies but to run away from them! Users may explore the actual world and gather supplies to build their base. The faster they run, the more supplies they can keep, and there are over 200 missions to complete. The voices of zombies chasing you in your physical environment are more than enough to get the heart racing and push players to run the extra mile.
Temple Treasure Hunt
This AR game is only available on Android and utilizes geo-location to provide a complete augmented reality experience. Temple Treasure Hunt is a fantastic AR game with loads of secrets, stories, and experiences within the game. There are two game modes: you can either protect the treasure or hunt, but in both instances, you need to follow the immersive map that the game provides.
You can set up creative hurdles for other treasure hunters while in treasure guardian mode. It is extremely fun to solve various challenges along the way, and you’ll also spot unique characters along the way.
Harry Potter Wizards Unite
Another Niantic masterpiece, the Harry Potter series needs no introduction. The world of wizardry and witchcraft has been transformed into an incredible AR game where players can duel enemies, complete challenges and collect unique artifacts.
You can also unite with other wizards to complete tasks, and users can move around in their physical environment to find unique items.
The game revolves around a crisis situation in the magical world. The Wizards of the globe must band together to resolve the crisis. Each wizard who plays the game must battle their way through adversaries and gather various components. This game is specifically made for fans of fiction and exploration. For the fans, the AR application also incorporates several appearances of well-known figures such as Professor McGonagall.
AR Sports Basketball
This sports-themed augmented reality game is the perfect game for basketball enthusiasts. If you love to hoop, you can now use this game to shoot hoops anywhere using your mobile phone. You will be able to set it up and complete various challenges whenever you’d like. Users can shoot the basketball in real time from any angle.
While it may not be as complex as other AR games, the game offers an excellent way to have fun. The user may virtually enjoy playing basketball thanks to many gaming modes, including a multiplayer mode to compete with friends.
Niantic launched Pokémon Go in July 2016, and it sparked massive interest in AR technologies and games. Simply put, the game allows users to find and collect Pokémon in their surroundings using their smartphones.
The game has generated over $900 million in revenue in 2021 due to its massive player base. Players can battle collected Pokémon with each other and can even “train” them at virtual gyms. These gyms are located at popular real-life landmarks, and upon its launch, thousands of Pokémon enthusiasts flocked to these landmarks to train their collections.
Beer Pong is a widely known physical world game that is extremely fun to play with friends. Similarly, this augmented reality game builds upon the concept by allowing players to place beer cups at any location and toss ping pong balls.
You can select your desired angle before you toss the ping pong ball, and the first to get the ball in 10 cups is crowned the winner. Players can now enjoy this competitive game in augmented reality simply through their smartphones.
Jurassic World Alive
If you’re a fan of the Jurassic Park series, you’re going to love this AR game. This game will transport you to a place with untamed dinosaurs, and players can marvel at the massive size of these creatures.
The game allows users to investigate many facets of the Jurassic age, encounter unique creatures such as mammoths, Pteranodons, and tyrannosaurus, and gather DNA samples to produce a customized version of a raptor.
This raptor can then be contested against other species, and you can also show it off to your friends. The thrill that comes with viewing these dinosaurs in real time, which is incredible. The game has been praised for its exceptional game mechanics and well-designed visuals.
Shark in the Park
Built primarily for young learners and marine enthusiasts, this AR game takes players on a journey to encounter various creatures in augmented reality. The game utilizes GPS features to track player movements in real-time, using sensors to allow the player to move in augmented reality.
It is recommended to play this game in open locations where the camera can view the open sky for the best AR experience.
dARK: Subject One
If you love thrilling, suspenseful games, this one is definitely for you! You enter the game through a portal and step into the shoes of the test subject. The goal is to recover a lost colleague in a parallel world.
This role-playing game is well known for its engaging horror narrative and stunning visuals. Have fun exploring a horror realm while unraveling mysteries and much more.
Released in 2014, Ingress Prime is another AR game developed by Niantic. The storyline revolves around the battle of two factions due to the discovery of Exotic Matter (XM). Players have to be very tactical while playing the game, and the gamer has the choice to support the “resistance” or the “enlightened.”
The game uses GPS in AR devices to track real-time locations, allowing players to interact using their physical surroundings. Players combat to decide which side will control the universe. They can link or hack portals and control the world however they like. The game is among the top AR games for iPhone and Android, and it also has features that are captivating, immersive, and participatory.
Why Will AR Technologies be Important in the Future?
With the rising adoption of AR and VR technologies worldwide, more and more users are seeking immersive experiences to shop, work, play and interact online. The Metaverse allows users to enter customized virtual realms that offer engaging environments.
It is destined to become the future of social media, thus making it the perfect place for businesses to market their products and services using AR. Companies can host virtual events, partner with Metaverse marketing experts, create virtual worlds and much more.
Businesses can maximize conversions and induce repeat purchases by enhancing the overall customer experience while shopping digitally using AR functions.
What hardware is required to play augmented reality games?
There is no special gear required to play augmented reality games. You can simply install the game on your smartphone or tablet and start playing the game.
What are the three essential elements of augmented reality?
Anything with these three functionalities can be considered augmented reality. These include a combination of virtual and real worlds, accurate 3D mapping of physical and digital objects, and real-time processing of digital overlays.
What is the most popular augmented reality game?
The first augmented game ever created was Pokémon Go in 2016, and it is the most popular game so far.