'Walking Dead' AR game puts zombie battle on smartphones
AMC Networks and Next Games previewed a location-based augmented reality game called "The Walking Dead: Our World" based on the network’s hit series set during a zombie apocalypse. The game shows smartphone users hordes of virtual zombies that can be fought with guns, swords, grenades and other weapons, Variety reported.
Characters from the popular cable series, including Rick, Daryl and Michonne, also appear to help players fight off zombies. The AR features resemble those from “Pokémon Go,” the hit game from Niantic Labs that introduced millions of people to location-based gaming.
“The Walking Dead: Our World” doesn’t have a release date. The game will be available on Apple’s App Store for iPhones and iPads, and on Google Play for Android devices.
“The Walking Dead” franchise, which was has been successfully extended into a spinoff series, a talk show, multiple video games and a mobile game, will next engage its fans with an AR game that will give them a new way to express their dedication to the show by battling virtual zombies in the real world.
The marketing opportunities for the game are still unknown, but it’s easy to imagine that the game could encourage players to interact with sponsors in exchange for discounts and rewards. For marketers, it will be important to keep in mind potential legal pitfalls with location-based AR engagements, such as trespassing or injury because players aren't paying attention to where they are going.
AMC and Next last year extended “The Walking Dead” brand to smartphones with almost 15 million active users of its "No Man's Land" mobile game. Directly connecting the live show experience to the game gives it an additional "second screen" advantage when it comes to engagement. As second-screen viewing becomes an entrenched activity, this effort reflects how marketers are looking to take their strategies to the next level through gaming.
AMC Networks was among the app developers that gathered this week at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA, to demonstrate their early tests with ARKit, The Verge reported. Ikea, The Food Network, and Giphy were among the big names in attendance to discuss their app development processes. AR is expected to be a key feature of the next iPhone, which will be introduced at an event on Sept. 12.
Apple’s audience of millions of iPhones and iPads is giving developers a major incentive to develop AR apps with the company’s ARKit. The audience for AR is likely to grow exponentially as Google, a major mobile rival to Apple, also makes the job of developing AR apps easier. Google this week released a preview of ARCore, a platform that will give Android smartphones greater AR features, TechCrunch reported. Consumer spending on virtual reality and AR worldwide is expected to double each year for the next four years, according to a recent report from the IDC, and marketers will likely ramp up their investments to accommodate that growing interest.