News: John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon GO Maker, Says AR, Not VR, Should Be the Way of the Future

John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon GO Maker, Says AR, Not VR, Should Be the Way of the Future

It isn't too hard to see John Hanke's bias towards augmented reality. His company, Niantic, created the astronomically profitable game Pokémon GO, which revolves around AR technology. However, Hanke has a case against virtual reality—he believes it just won't be healthy, in more than one sense of the word.

Hanke recently spoke at the Mixed Reality Summit at Games London 2017, where he laid out his warnings for the rise of VR. He believes that VR is potentially too immersive, in his words "too good." He worries people would start to choose their virtual reality over, well, their reality.

Niantic CEO John Hanke (left) speaking at the Mixed Reality Summit on April 4, 2017. Image by ben le rougetel‏/Twitter

He argues that AR is a better focus for games and entertainment. He claims it combines the fun of video games with the scientifically proven benefits of exercise and being out in nature. Pokémon GO did just that, and there are currently studies being done on the benefits of playing the game, since the only way to play it is to walk or run outside to find Pokémon.

These games can encourage people to be more active than they would normally be. As a parent, part of my motivation for building this kind of game was to try and get my kids out of the house. I think there's a ton of good that can be done.

— John Hanke (at the Mixed Reality Summit)

With video game addiction a very real phenomenon, Hanke may be on to something. AR has the potential to be the more practical technology over VR, especially for professional work. But right now, VR is dominating the game market. We'll just have to see if companies like Niantic will push more AR games into the masses, to keep us moving instead of tied to a chair.

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Cover image via Samuel Zeller/Unsplash

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