Niantic Labs, the creators of Pokemon Go, in conjunction with Warner Bros. announced recently that a new Harry Potter themed augmented reality game is in the works. Wizards Unite will launch in 2018 and is said to follow a similar basic structure to Pokemon Go.
According to Niantic Labs, “players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover and fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.”
The exact release date and further detail will be announced next year, but there is already a significant buzz on social media among the Harry Potter fan base. Considering that the entire Harry Potter franchise has generated a total of $25 billion in revenue over the last 20 years, it’s easy to explain the hype.
Additionally, AR is expected to become even more widespread in the years to come. Tech Crunch predicts that, “mobile AR could become the primary driver of a $108 billion VR/AR market by 2021 (underperform $94 billion, outperform $122 billion), with AR taking the lion’s share of $83 billion and VR $25 billion.”
The combination of AR development with the Harry Potter super fan community could prove to be a smash hit for the new game, but it seems as though the biggest challenge Niantic Labs will face is retention. According to a study by Slice Intelligence, the Pokemon Go paying population declined by 79% within two months of it’s peak popularity. It will be interesting to see how Niantic and Warner Bros. address that issue head-on in the development of Wizards Unite. I look forward to the craze that is to come.