Pokémon Go Creator Speaks of Futuristic Contact Lens Video Games

It’s not every day you hear an experienced video game creator tell the public that someday they will play video games just by opening their eyes, but that’s what John Hanke said at VentureBeat’s GamesBeat conference. Back when the Pacman arcade machine was the latest and greatest game you’d ever played, this would have been hard to even envision, never mind believe. But now, it’s coming closer to a reality and Hanke says it will happen in his lifetime.

Hanke’s Start at Google

Hanke was a part of the team that developed Ingress, one of the most popular augmented reality and location-based games created up to this point. In this game, two factions battle to capture portals located at monuments and landmarks, using the portals to create “control fields.” The factions are in competition to capture the most “mind units,” which are numbers of people within a certain geographical area that fall under the control field.

Ingress was published by Google before Niantic became its own company, but soon after, Hanke, Niantic’s CEO, wanted the premise of the game to reach a larger audience. He believed that connecting the idea to a game well-recognized in pop culture would appeal to the masses, and he was right.

Hanke’s Vision for the Future

A few of the goals of both Ingress and Pokémon Go include physically moving around a community and exercising. The games also prompt players to learn about landmarks they may have walked by every day, helping them become familiar with the history of their community. Another goal was to encourage people to connect to others away from a screen. It can also boost the local economy, with businesses able to sponsor the game and in return their location can become a stop in the game, potentially leading to more sales.

Hanke’s vision has already come to life, with both games accomplishing all of these goals. But Hanke isn’t going to stop there. He thinks that the smart watches and fitness trackers that are growing in popularity will eventually become glasses or contact lenses. People will view the world as normal, and games will simply provide a new filter through which people see the world.

Will Hanke’s prediction come true? Either way, video games are working their way into everyday life, providing the opportunity to learn and encouraging connections, and those are two worthwhile accomplishments.