Games and dating apps get an augmented reality update

Companies are answering the call from young consumers desiring more immersive experiences via augmented reality, which they currently prefer over virtual reality. In addition to games, creators are adding AR elements to dating apps and more.


Created by Niantic, the company of Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an augmented reality game that promises to bring the magic and fantasy of the Harry Potter universe to the real world via smartphone. Users can search for hidden artifacts, learn to cast spells, and find beloved beasts and characters from the bestselling series. Niantic has announced a summer release date, and publications such as Forbes are already predicting it to be the biggest game of 2018.


73% of global youth say technology makes dating feel like a game, and the Flirtar app creates an even more gamelike feel by adding an AR element. The idea behind the service is to introduce users to potential partners who cross their paths at events, restaurants, and other everyday locations, similar to matchmaking apps like Happn. People use their phone’s camera to subtly scan an area, and bubbles with users profiles pop up in front of them. They can then click on a profile and decide whether or not to swipe ‘yes’ and chat if there’s a match. If there are no nearby bubbles, users can pick a place on the app’s map to relocate and find potential matches.


War games get an upgrade with Smash Tanks, an AR game that lets people take their tank-battling experience to a battleground located in reality. Users face opponents with three tanks on a digital map layered over the real world. The game challenges players to blow up falling crates to unlock artillery that can be used on the opponent’s tanks. Whoever destroys all of their opponent’s tanks first, wins.