Augmented reality (AR) is a technology with unlimited potential, especially in the field of gaming and entertainment. But, so far, AR and virtual reality (VR) experiences have primarily been limited to single-player experiences.
However, the industry is currently seeing the rise of multiplayer augmented reality games that combine digital characters with real-world environments. These new types of AR games take the standard AR experience one step further by adding an element of social interaction into the mix.
Such an approach has the potential to bring users together. More people are coming to understand the value of this technology and its potential for future applications. To help you get acquainted with the current state of multiplayer augmented reality, let’s take a closer look at multiplayer AR/VR as well as some recent developments in this exciting space.
Gameplay that supports many players and takes place in a shared augmented or virtual reality space is referred to as "multiplayer AR/VR."
While most AR/VR games so far have been single-player experiences, a growing subgenre is dedicated to cooperative play across a number of platforms and various technologies. These technologies can include head-mounted displays such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, mobile devices like smartphones, and even standard monitors through WebAR.
This is where WebXR comes into play. WebXR project (formerly known as WebVR) is an open-source framework that facilitates the creation of interactive VR content for use in a web browser. WebXR content is compatible with the default browser on the Meta Quest 2, as well as Firefox and Chrome.
There are many different types of multiplayer AR/VR games available today, but they all share the basic goal of allowing players to experience a shared virtual environment together. The most common types of multiplayer AR/VR games include competitive sports simulations, co-op shooters, and cooperative puzzle games.
In addition, businesses across various sectors use multiplayer augmented reality and virtual reality experiences to support team-building activities among employees or to simply develop entertaining games in the multiplayer format that users can enjoy with their friends and family.
AR/VR multiplayer is also referred to as cross-platform AR/VR because it allows users to interact with their virtual environment from multiple devices. For example, you can use your smartphone to scan a QR code and enter an AR/VR experience into a WebXR browser. Outside of gaming experiences, this is useful for applications involving public spaces, like museums and movie theatres.
Another advantage of multiplayer AR/VR is that it provides multiple perspectives on the same virtual world. This can be very useful in situations where some users are more experienced than others, like when giving tours or guiding newbies through an experience. It’s also useful for training purposes, allowing users to practice skills in different ways without having to rely on each other. Finally, augmented and virtual reality with multiple players can be a productive approach for groups to work together.
When it comes to the benefits of multiplayer AR/VR, the overarching theme is that it offers a novel and exciting way to bring people together and allows users to have shared experiences with friends and family.
The interest in multiplayer augmented reality is increasing at a tremendous pace due to its ability to deliver a fully immersive experience. As such, companies are looking for ways to create compelling experiences that will appeal to as wide an audience as possible. In this context, multiplayer augmented reality can be seen as an interesting possibility.
Aircards made strides in this emerging field by working on a few multiplayer augmented reality projects:
Leading worldwide software business NICE commissioned Aircards to develop the NICEverse, a revolutionary WebXR gaming platform. Over 7,500 employees at NICE can now connect to a secure server and compete in a wide range of Mixed Reality games hosted on the web. There were a total of six different minigames available on the system, ranging from timed puzzles to scavenger hunts to asteroid dodging and platforming.
Players can play solo or with up to three others in a shared lobby for multiplayer action. It also includes a practice mode and a qualifying mode, with the latter contributing to the player's final score on the global leaderboard. At the conclusion of a NICEverse competition hosted by NICE during the platform launch, the highest-scoring participants were awarded a family vacation to Disneyland.
Aircards also made the first cross-platform, real-time multiplayer WebXR game, Summit Scramble. This development showcases 8th Wall's brand-new Reality Engine in action. This multiplayer augmented reality game allows you to put your climbing skills to the test against those of your friends and discover where you stand on the global scoreboard. You can play by yourself or organize a multiplayer session across many devices.
Bulleit AR Frontier Garage is a multiplayer augmented reality scavenger hunt game developed by Aircards in collaboration with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, a distillery based in Kentucky. Users can participate in the scavenger hunt at a table together in real-time by scanning a QR code. The game's mini-garage layout is displayed in tabletop style for participants to explore using their avatars while enjoying their time at the distillery.
As technology improves, creating new, engaging experiences that bring people together in shared environments is becoming increasingly accessible. Multiplayer augmented reality and virtual reality experiences are only beginning to take off, but they have the potential to be quite engaging and fun.
The best multiplayer AR games provide a great deal of value that is not possible in most single-player experiences. From family game nights to social gatherings with friends to team-building activities among employees, multiplayer augmented reality can bring people together in ways that regular video games cannot. Because of these reasons, multiplayer AR and VR experiences are likely to gain a lot of momentum over the coming years.
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Coca-Cola HBC recently collaborated with Summit Scramble, the WebXR powered mini-game developed by Aircards and powered by 8th Wall.