Google Glass: Augmented Reality Games Will Be Transformed By Smartglasses

Patrick Frye - Author

Jul. 29 2013, Updated 12:01 a.m. ET

COMMENTARY | Google Glass will be among the first commercially viable augmented reality smartglasses. Google Glass is a wearable smartphone which overlays the reality of your normal vision with digital information, or graphics, that augments what you see. In short, augmented reality combines the digital and the real world.

So far examples of augmented reality have been tied to increased productivity and better socialization capabilities while on the move. Voice recognition and simple hand gestures are so far the primary methods of control. But how could Google Glass, augmented reality, and gaming be combined?

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The website Android Authority provides a list of some of the best augmented reality apps. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, some games have already started using augmented reality. An app called Minecraft Reality allows users to place their Minecraft creations into the real world based upon GPS coordinates. I can just imagine a future where groups of people maintain an augmented reality with all sorts of weird stuff littering the landscape, but only visible to your smartphone or Google Glass smartglasses.

In the short term there will probably be simple Google Glass games that distract the users when bored. An iPhone app called ARDefender already pulls tower defense games into the real world. One idea would be a variant of the old game I Spy, where one user tags an object within view and then friends need to figure out which object that is with questions. But hardcore gamers are unlikely to be too interested in that style of game.

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What hardcore gamers probably want to see is Halo 4 and Call of Duty brought to life. A project called The ShootAR, or Urban Troops for the English version, combines the gameplay of Counterstrike or the Battlefield series with augmented reality. Players use the real world as their “maps” for playing. I imagine it’s fairly awkward to be running around with your smartphone held out in front of you like a gun, so Google Glass would be the perfect way to play this game.

I can easily see augmented reality first person shooter theme parks springing up. These FPS theme parks would provide augmented reality areas similar to how there are already airsoft and paintball parks. Besides dressing up in camo gear and being handed a plastic gun with input controls, the biggest difference is that game developers could create a cooperative player campaign that pits players against virtual monsters in the real world.

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You might argue that a FPS theme park couldn’t offer enough variety to interest gamers compared to a long, detailed single player campaign. Well, Halo 4’s Spartan Wars has 50+ cooperative missions and they’re all using a limited set of maps with different enemy setups. Augmented reality games could stage a real-life based alien invasion of New York just like the movies.

Long term, augmented reality could not only place enemies in the real world but also augment the environment with virtual graphics. For example, in the real world you have a plywood wall with a particular pattern that acts like a QR code. When viewed through Google Glass, or gaming smartglasses, this simple wall could be transformed into gritty castle stonework accompanied with torches that light the scene.

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How do you see augmented reality and Google Glass changing the gaming scene?


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