Pokemon GO creator teases the game’s AI future

Pokemon GO creator teases the game’s AI future
Images via Niantic

Written by 

Joseph Kime


31st Oct 2023 11:25

Even though Pokemon GO might not command the legions of fans that it once did, what with the entire world becoming gripped by its active gameplay, there are still players who swear by its quality. This comes despite price hikes and fan complaints about unimpressive events.

But now, it looks like a new era could be set to come to Niantic's AR game, as revealed by the man who makes it all happen. The future of Pokemon GO is coming, and by the sounds of it, it could involve the controversial element of AI. 

Pokemon GO's boss speaks on AR possibilities

Darkrai has he appears in Pokemon GO.
Click to enlarge

Speaking with the BBC, Pokemon GO creator John Hanke has insisted that the game is "definitely going very strong," and has hinted at what Niantic's plans mean for the future. There's a lot of conversations bout the use of AI in video games, so yet again, expect Niantic to divide fans with this one.

When quizzed about the potential for Pokemon GO to appear on consoles that boast futuristic capabilities like the Apple Vision Pro and the latest Meta headsets, Hanke says that "those are the kinds of devices that we're leaning into. Because they're devices you can use when you're out for a walk and with your friends, and they don't get in your way."

It's a statement that makes sense, what with the game focussing on the AR capabilities of smartphones anyway, so if it's going to touch down in the future, then the Vision Pro would be the best place to start. It's not just AR that's involved, though.

John Hanke speaks on Pokemon GO's potential AI inclusions

Oricoco as they appear in Pokemon GO.
Click to enlarge

Niantic clearly hasn't ruled out the potential of AI appearances in Pokemon GO, as he reveals in the same interview. The company is hoping to reveal a feature that is powered by AI at some point next year that will allow Pokemon to be "situated in the environment and respond to things in the environment in a realistic way."

Hanke claims that "2024 is going to be a breakthrough year for AR" thanks to its integration with AI. The BBC notes that it might not be that simple due to the recent layoffs at Niantic, and while Hanke says that was "unfortunate," it's clear he's not letting it hold back his vision for the future.

A pivot to AI is an interesting idea, and we'll have to see how it actually turns out before we claim it sounds terrible - but it sounds like one of those pretty simple AI applications that video games have used for years. We're not about to see Pikachu hit us with AI-generated monologues just yet.

Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.

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