Google and Nintendo have teamed up for a new project joining Pokemon and the wonders of augmented reality, the two companies announced this week.
The initiative is primarily meant to fulfill the function of a promo campaign for Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, a new Pokemon movie that's hitting theaters around the world this month and is apparently – good?
Google's AR playground simply called Playground is now hosting a number of pocket monsters from the movie, allowing users to bring them to life in their very own environments, which should make for some excellent photo opportunities.
Getting in on the fun is as simple as downloading any other Playmoji pack for Playground; just visit the Google Play Store page dedicated to the package, install it, and see how you feel about the movie's character design when comparing it against your own surroundings. The experience is completely free of charge and includes Detective Pikachu, Charizard, Jigglypuff, and Mr. Mime. Nintendo and Google jointly optimized the character models for Playground and as things stand right now, it's unlikely the newly launched pack will be expanded at any point in the future.
That isn't to say you shouldn't expect any updates as the vanilla version of the Playmoji bundle appears to be suffering from some technical issues, with numerous users reporting Mr. Mime is the only character that loads, whereas others complain about crashes and freezes, as well as generally slow performance. As a result, the Playground: POKÉMON Detective Pikachu app presently has an average rating of only 3.6 stars on the Play Store, hence being one of the worst-rated services that stemmed from the Developed with Google initiative.
Until the patches start coming, note that you won't be able to run the package properly (if at all) if you don't have the very latest build of Google's ARCore installed on your Android device of choice. All ARCore-enabled smartphones should be supported by the Playjmoji set. Performance issues aside, Playground won't try to stop you if you want to add all four provided characters into a single scene.
Besides showing SEGA and the Sonic team a live-action movie with cartoon characters can (still) work, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is also meant to mark the start of an entirely new chapter for one of the world's most valuable media franchises ever and is just the first of many such titles that are being planned by The Pokemon Company, Warner Brothers, and other partners. As a result, it's also willing to thread some new ground when it comes to marketing, though it's not like an AR adventure marks an overall first for the series and surely not many people forgot Pokemon GO is one of the most successful video games of all times.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is hitting theaters in the United States on Friday, May 10th. The titular character is being voiced by no one other than Ryan Reynolds, with Deathpool star reportedly doing tremendously in the role of everyone's favorite electrically infused rodent with a caffeine addiction.