Earlier this year, Google announced an upcoming AR game, Space Invaders: World Defense, which is built as a showcase of the company’s latest AR tool. Now you can jump in and shoot down some of the game’s iconic block-shaped aliens yourself.

Google and developer Taito have launched Space Invaders: World Defense, releasing both on Android and iOS devices. The game’s titular space invaders spawn from buildings and rooftops, hide behind structures and hover in the sky, so make sure to play outside.

The studios also tossed out a new launch video, embedded below this update.

Developer Taito has offered up a first real glimpse of Space Invaders: World Defense.

The game is now available for pre-registration on the Google Play Store (and “coming soon” to the Apple App Store), but still doesn’t offer too many details on exactly how the game will work beyond pointing and zapping floating enemies.

SPACE INVADERS have returned to conquer the world, this time from a different dimension. Join the World Defense team to find, and defeat SPACE INVADERS in your neighborhood. As a member of the elite pilot force, you’ll defend your area from invasion in a first-of-its-kind immersive game experience. Engage in missions across dimensions from Augmented Reality to the parallel Invader world. Success will earn you a spot on the High Scores as well as special bonuses and power ups.

To be fair, building compelling AR gameplay that happens through a phone screen is tough. But games like this will have the opportunity to really flourish as head-worn AR devices begin to proliferate.

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The original article, which covers the initial announcement of the game, continues below.

Original Article (May 11th, 2023): Over the last few years Google has been steadily working on its AR developer toolset, ARCore. This week at Google IO 2023, the company added a brand new tool to its kit called Geospatial Creator.

Geospatial Creator gives developers the ability to create world-anchored digital content that will appear in the same location for all users. Built on a foundation of both ARCore and 3D data from Google Maps, it’s competes with Niantic’s Lightship AR platform, and is getting integrations for both Unity and Adobe Aero.

To showcase the latest capabilities of ARCore, Google has teamed up with Taito Corporation, the original developer of arcade hit Space Invaders (1978), to build a brand new city-scale AR game called Space Invaders: World Defense.

Planned to launch later this Summer—fittingly aligned with the 45 year anniversary of the original game—Space Invaders: World Defense will purportedly have players “defend the earth from Space Invaders in their neighborhood,” and will “combine AR and 3D gameplay to deliver a fully contextual and highly engaging immersive experience that connects multi-generations of players.”

Sadly we’ve yet to see a glimpse of any real gameplay, so it isn’t clear just how the game will work, but with any luck we’ll eventually find more information from the game’s official website.


Additional reporting by Scott Hayden.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • another juan

    it seems like google is slowly amassing a decent collection of AR content, ready for whenever they decide to release their XR glasses

  • Ender772

    i dont get it…what is it? doenst look like space invaders to me

  • Octogod

    Nothing like a completely faked trailer to sell me on your absolutely real tech launching in months.

    • Jonathan Winters III

      +1

  • I bet the game will be lame, but I’m more interested in the SDKs they are preparing for geolocalized AR experiences. Those look cool

  • REALLY neat! But… what hardware will this run on? Magic Leap? Hololens? (gag) It’ll probably be a release title for that Apple trash.

    Gameplay wise, I think it might fall hard on “gimmick”. I love a good gimmick, but you don’t want to go playing this in public. You’d die!

  • Nevets

    Enough of this nonsense. Bring on the head mounted hardware this century. It can’t come quick enough.

  • gothicvillas

    Idk it looks real bad

  • XRC

    If anyone wants an example of how effective AR Core can be, even on lowly smartphone check out “Rembrandt Reality”. Use good quality headphones and allow 50 foot of space. Astonishing stuff.

    • PD Dropenspeck

      This doesn’t appear to be available on Google Play currently.

  • Martin

    I know it would never happen, but would be cool to see an open world game that takes place throughout Google maps in 3D.

    I mean, they already 3D mapped the vast majority of the earth and it’s interactive. I’d like to see a mystery who done it, or action adventure puzzle solver. Would be really cool walking through actual locations in the world. Kind of like Microsoft Flight Simulator, but on the ground, using current and real-time data for weather, time, etc.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Never is a long time, and assuming that in a few years a couple of tech giants will fight for dominance in XR/AR, I’d say Google trying to leverage their advantage in mapping the world in as many ways as possible is actually very likely. Currently only Apple is running a mapping project of comparable size. Apple Maps were actually the first to provide realistically textured 3D models, automatically created from images taken by planes, while Google was still relying on satellite data plus users recreating 3D models in SketchUp, but by now both have very large and detailed 3D models/scans of large parts of the world, with Google covering way more area, esp. in Street View.

      Since collecting that data is a multi year/decade process, it can provide unique features that others cannot easily copy. Meta is aware of that and together with Amazon, Microsoft and TomTom (of GPS navigation fame) launched the Overture Maps Foundation in late 2022 in cooperation with the Linux Foundation. Their aim is to develop interoperable and open map data, acknowledging that this is a mayor endeavor where none of them could catch up with Google alone.

      I of course have no idea if Google will in fact release or enable open world games that take place throughout Google maps in 3D. But with them emphasizing ARCore, needing convincing use cases for their AR/XR offerings, sitting on the largest collection of 3D world maps that they already try to integrate into all their services, and, last but not least, Niantic’s Pokemon Go being the most successful AR app/actual open world game by far with already more than USD 6bn in total revenue (52.3% on Android) and still going strong, I’d actually expect way more than one game for their XR HMD to make use of all that early on, before others may have a chance to caught up.

  • Richard R Garabedian

    ugg…this would be awesome in vr…but in Ar it looks like garbage

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Please don’t play these games in public spaces, people are already not paying attention when walking due to their smartphones. When people run into the road due to this and get into an accident, they should be held responsible, not the motorist (as is in our country).