"With current AR, even if you say Pikachu is there, no one really thinks that. But that reality is just one step away."
- The Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara, speaking to Bloomberg.
It's been over a year since Niantic and The Pokemon Company released Pokemon Go, an augmented-reality catch-'em-all mobile game that became something of a global pop culture phenomenon.
Since then the game has lost millions of players and gained millions more, surpassing 750 million downloads this summer.
Devs following the game may be interested (if not surprised) to learn that in a recent chat Bloomberg had with Pokemon Company chief Tsunekazu Ishihara, the CEO seemed intent on building upon the game's success in some meaningful ways.
"We’ve only accomplished 10 percent of what Pokémon and Niantic are trying to do, so going forward we will have to include fundamental Pokémon experiences such as Pokémon trading and peer-to-peer battles, and other possibilities," Ishihara said. "On the other hand, it has created a lot of social problems. When too many people gather, it causes mass confusion. Also this isn’t limited to Pokémon Go, but the issue of staring at smartphones while walking is something we have to focus on and think about."
Looking beyond the game's standout success, Ishihara says he foresees a bright future for AR game development, one that includes hardware and games capable of adapting to real-world objects like, say, a coffee table.
"With current AR, even if you say Pikachu is there, no one really thinks that. But that reality is just one step away," added Ishihara.
"For example, you’ll be able to find Pikachu, and it can sense this table and jump on it, and you can see its shadow on the table, and then it faces you and starts talking to you. We will see the birth of this reality that is another step up from the current Pokémon Go. And I’ve only mentioned the visual aspect, but you can add haptic and rumble technology to that."
Such comments, while vague, suggest the surprising success of Pokemon Go has had a significant effect on how The Pokemon Company views its future. For more from Ishihara on Pokemon Go and the future of the Pokemon franchise on other platforms (including Nintendo's Switch and voice-controlled devices like the Amazon Echo) check out the full Bloomberg article.