Ambitions, successes and failures: AR Battle Company Graffity
Hi, this is Toshiaki from Graffity. We are developing an AR shooting game called”AR Battle”. In this post, I’d like to write about the 3-year history of Graffity Inc.
Chemistry of AR technology and communication
We founded Graffity Inc. in 2017 with thoughts of “enriching the enjoyment of real-life through AR”.
Definitely AR technology is making our lives richer and more convenient. For example, face filters provided by Snapchat and Instagram, make you express yourself more creatively.In order to become a post-smartphone, mobile AR, especially AR glasses, is evolving in many industries. Within those industries, we focused on communications. The conversation is the basis for everything in our life, including building close-knit family relationships, friendships, and relationships with business partners. But let’s ask here — when was the last time you had a conversation with a friend/family? We know its importance, but it’s hard to put into action. So we created a “trigger” to start a conversation, which is called AR Battle. Don’t google ‘lack of communication’ anymore, just download our AR Battle app and play with your friends!
Key findings from developing three apps
A year and a half after we founded, we’ve released three apps total to test our hypothesis of how AR apps affect people’s communication.
The biggest finding is, actually, people get tired of opening AR apps. When you want to use an AR app, you must activate the camera first to recognize its surroundings. This action takes a couple of minutes, and by then, people get bored with using the app.So it needs a strong motivation to keep people engaged.
First app: Sharing AR graffities with friends
The first product was an app that allows you to save “AR graffiti” in virtual space. You can draw your AR graffiti and see your friend’s work too.
A lot of AR graffiti was made, but they were not seen at all. Why? Because most of the graffiti wasn’t worth looking at.
The only way to solve this problem is to make our users create richer AR graffiti, but there were limitations to drawing on a smartphone. With a 2D interface, it’s difficult to draw in a 3D space.
On the promise of communication with others, we realized that AR technology should not be used as a medium, but as a tool.
Second app : AR video chat
After reflecting on the first product, we’ve decided to create an app to enrich people’s conversations. We set our eyes on the act of calling. Then we realized that video chat and AR technology work well together, and we’ve started thinking if we could enrich the conversation by developing an AR video chat application. It’s an app that allows people to draw graffiti in each space while video chatting. The VC market is growing in the States more than in Japan, so we stayed in L.A. to create the new product.
In the course of developing the app, I realized something: AR technology is more powerful when someone is actually in the same space as someone else. In other words, you cannot see the same world as someone who doesn’t share the precondition of the “same space” because the context is different.
From AR video chat, we learned that it would be better experienced with people nearby and even in the same space to enrich communication with AR.
Third app : AR shooting game
We provided the world’s first AR shooting game called Pechabato in December 2018. It allows playing like a real FPS game anytime, anywhere with your friends.
We found that games are more engaging and triggered people to communicate rather than apps that approach people’s conversations directly. We also found that game apps could make the most of AR technology.
We’ve reached 100K plays within a first month of release and it has been downloaded over 100K times.
I am convinced that AR battles will create a new form of communications and realized that the key to changing the way we communicate with others is the use of entertainment, especially games. Enhancing the gameplay also motivates users, and it creates a world many users open AR apps regularly.
We are currently developing a new AR shooting game to make AR Battles more fun and engaging. Let’s achieve together with a world where people can communicate with each other through AR entertainments!
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