Pokémon Go, the latest “AR” infused sequel to the classic Nintendo franchise is sweeping the world on mobile phone platforms. But what would it look like running on a dedicated augmented reality headset? Developer CapitolaVR decided to find out by building a Pokemon Go inspired test game for their brand new Microsoft HoloLens.

All potential issues with Pokémon Go’s classification as an augmented reality title aside, the game has been incredibly popular since its launch earlier in the month, going so far as to bump Nintendo’s stock points by a significant margin. And many are indeed hopelessly addicted to the “gotta catch ’em all” formula that has defined the core appeal of Pokémon since inception.

But what would Pokémon Go look like were it running on a headset build from the ground up for augmented reality applications, instead of general purpose mobile phone hardware? Developers over at CapitolaVR in Amsterdam decided to try and this is what they came up with when targeting their shiny new Microsoft HoloLens AR headset – complete with interactive hand gestures. You can see the results in the video above.

See Also: ‘Pokémon Go’ is Where I Draw the Line on “Augmented Reality”
See Also: ‘Pokémon Go’ is Where I Draw the Line on “Augmented Reality”

Built in Unity with the HoloLens SDK, the developers tell us that they’ve been “amazed” at how easy it was to quickly get an AR application up and running on Microsoft’s Development Kit. And whilst you may think there are elements of this video, tracking in particular, which look a little shonky, bear in mind one important thing: Capitola only received their HoloLens yesterday. An impressive endorsement of Microsoft’s development environment then and potentially encouraging for developer adoption in the future.

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No word if CapitolaVR plan to take this concept further, but we’ll let you know if they do.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • David Herrington

    99% sure that Nintendo already has this in the works for their next system. They said “no VR” because a large portion of their audience is children, but that doesn’t mean no AR. ;)

    Thinking its going to be something like this,
    “If you like Pokémon Go, then you’re going to LOVE Pokémon Home.”

    • Interesting theory David. Lets see if Gamescom brings any news from Nintendo.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        Its exactly my response on the nintendo article i also think nintendo will go on AR instead of VR as it is better for children based on our own internal test we did.

    • Bob

      So apparently your theory is that Pokemon Go is a starter dish and the main is coming?

      • David Herrington

        Exactly. I have no concrete evidence to prove this other than Nintendo’s history, but it just makes sense. They have been pioneering interaction in games since the first Wii-mote. Why would they just throw that all away? And then now at VR’s inception they just decide to bow out?? No way, they haven’t been sitting on their laurels. They have been in this “game” way too long.

        • Charles

          “VR’s inception”
          Well, VR’s pretty similar to Inception, but I wouldn’t say it IS Inception. :P

          • David Herrington

            Lol….. you might want to check out a dictionary sometime and depend less on movie titles. XD

            the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity.

          • Charles

            Haha, it was a joke – I was purposefully misinterpreting.

    • Dunnlang

      I’d love it if that were the case, but something like Pokemon Go will always be aimed at the lowest common denominator of hardware. They need that massive install base to hit the $10 Billion+ increase in valuation that happened.

      It would be amazing if there were a version geared for the Lenovo Phab2 with Google’s Project Tango. Sadly that’s really the only appropriate device on the horizon and it’s not even released yet.

    • Truth

      Pokemon Home is a capital idea. Also, take into consideration the fact that out of the 700+ pokemon in the poke-verse, only 150 are present on the current mobile app.

    • I never imagined we would be putting our cellphones into Cardboards and Gear VR, but now it totally seems plausible that Nintendo might someday have you put their ‘portable’ system into a gaming helmet of some sort that maybe doesn’t do VR right away, but does child safe AR which may end up being more compelling and unique. Classic Nintendo.

  • VirtualBro

    Pokemon Go IS real augmented reality. It uses a real map with real map data to add game elements to the real world. Just because the camera viewfinder stuff isn’t aware of the real world doesn’t mean that it’s not “real” AR.

    • mystogan

      why are you so offended?

      • VirtualBro

        I’m not offended, I just think it’s a bad idea to go around labeling things as “not real X” because they don’t work the way you like. In the same vein, I think that 360 videos are “real” VR video even though they’re not fully immersive experiences, and the GearVR is “real” VR even though it has no positional tracking, etc etc.

        That said, if Pokemon Go were nothing BUT the crappy camera overlay, I’d say that whether or not it’s “AR” is debatable

    • Bob

      It’s real but it’s rubbish.

      • VirtualBro

        I think the map integration stuff is cool, but the game definitely looks like boring garbage even for a cell phone game. Especially compared to an actual Pokemon game!

    • David Renton

      Yeah but it doesn’t place the pokemon in the real world properly as it can’t sense the environment around it, which is what HoloLens can do.

  • Bilal

    I think Pokemon Go or something similar would seem so cool on a complete 3D platform! These guys have created some really nice 3D maps. You can even embed their maps in any webpage using their Javascript API. It’s here: http://www.eegeo.com/2016/07/eegeo-maps-browser-javascript-api-now-beta/

  • Jonathan Cano

    What makes Pokemon Go great (IMO) is that is is awakening a big group of people to the idea of AR and makes them more receptive to it.

    While Capitola’s demo is cool, HoloLens is not a consumer product (it is targeted at business customers). I’m excited to see what the first consumer AR HMD will look like. Games like Pokemon Go will be important in driving the popularity of the first AR HMDs

    • PrymeFactor

      ‘Consumer HMD’ doesn’t mean it’s meant for use outdoors, or that it looks socially acceptable for outdoors use.