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AR Games Development

AR Game Development: The Next Level of Gaming

The gaming industry remains the most successful industry in media and entertainment. The total number of gamers spending money on mobile games is increasing exponentially. Revenue generated from mobile games alone was 116 billion USD in 2021 and that number is not going down. More than 150 games generated more than 100 million USD in that same year. The data here shows the growth potential in the gaming landscape, especially the mobile game market. That makes it an ideal testing place to try new ideas like VR games, VR game development, AR games, and AR game development.

Brazil, India, and the United States are the top markets for mobile app downloads in the first quarter of 2022. The growing number of downloads and the landscape make now the perfect time to consider AR game development. The current year is one where AI, AR, and VR are gaining momentum every day. Companies looking at this growing demand should find creative ways to supply this demand. One such lucrative avenue would be Augmented Reality game development.

This article provides a deeper look into AR game development and the many aspects involved in it. We’ll cover things like AR game mechanics, AR game development guides, and more. The article should also provide insight into why more businesses should tap into this technology and benefit from it.

Mobile gaming is ripe for AR game development

Mobile game app development is a major factor behind the growth of the video game industry. In 2022 alone, mobile games generated a total of 41.7 billion USD in total. Industry growth here is the result of significant technology advancements, greater smartphone usage, and innovation in the gaming world.

Another metric that’s driving growth is user penetration. The industry is expected to reach a penetration rate nearing 30% by 2027 according to Statista. Google Play here generates more revenue compared to the Apple Store. Presently, the most popular mobile games that people download are casinos, puzzles, and strategy.

The data here paints a very promising picture. A company with a new idea and an engaging hook can enter the market and become a success. All that matters is leveraging the right technology and in this case, it is AR. Augmented reality is steadily becoming a part of the gaming landscape. This technology provides better engagement to players through innovative and interactive apps.

Experts even predict the market for AR game development will reach 33.5 billion USD by 2027. Developments in technology and new tools all contribute to making the AR gaming industry more engaging.  

Now is the right time to tap into the AR game market. They can build any one of the following types of games and become a success in the industry.

Types of AR games

AR games are growing in popularity. Many developers want to push boundaries or innovate on what exists. These games garnered popularity and attention thanks to several advancements. Hence, many AR games come under one of several categories to tap into this lucrative market. Here are some common AR game types.

Location-based AR games (LBS)

A location-based AR game uses real-time location data and GPS to create a virtual environment in the player’s environment. Here, the players look for in-game items in their world. They also interact with their surroundings, speak to characters, solve puzzles, unlock stages, complete challenges, and more.

AR sports games

AR sports games overlay virtual elements and details over regular games like basketball, soccer, tennis, etc. Developers can take things further by adding a multiplayer mode so players can play and enjoy these games with their friends.

AR puzzle games

This game is where programmers combine puzzles and challenges into the player’s world through AR. Here, players have to solve problems, find the solutions to riddles, or navigate through digital mazes overlaid on a real-time location.

AR simulation games

These games utilize AR technology to create near-realistic simulations of different scenarios and activities. These games are great for activities like home decoration, clothes fittings, pet simulations, and more.

AR social games

Typical social games promote interaction between players. AR builds on that by adding a level of realism to the game that increases player engagement. It also encourages players to engage in virtual activities that bring them together. Here, they can collaborate on tasks and enjoy completing them together.

AR educational games

Developers can utilize AR elements to create interactive, immersive, and educational experiences. These games can teach subjects like science, history, biology, and more in incredible new ways that keep students interested from start to finish.

Benefits of AR game development

Immersive gaming experience

A typical video game involves sitting in front of a screen and interacting with the avatars through a joystick or a keyboard. However, AR gaming takes things a step further. Now, players can interact with digital content placed atop a physical environment. It makes the whole experience feel real and makes the characters feel they are part of the game.

Imagine an AR game where you, the player, defend your home from virtual invaders. Here, digital monsters or enemies are overlaid in the real world. The player must fight them to protect their physical home. The experience forces players to move around the house. That helps in adding greater immersion and engagement.

AR games help in navigation

Many video games require players to explore and interact with new environments. Some games take the exploration a step further and add elements that increase the difficulty. That makes it harder for players to progress without a guide.

AR here helps players overcome these challenges.

Imagine playing an AR game where you have to find hidden characters at various locations. Here, the game can overlay arrows or other markers on the environment. Developers can create marker-based AR games to help players explore the environment or nudge them in the right direction.

Greater social interaction

Regular games are a solitary task. Some games have teams working together, but even then, there is limited immersion. AR games can overcome that issue and help players interact with the game they never have before.

Imagine a game where you and other players work together to capture virtual animals. This approach creates a greater social experience. Another type of social game is you and the family working together to find virtual items scattered around a location.

Greater educational benefits

AR also has the potential to make educational activities. The idea of superimposing a digital world over a physical one lends itself to creating interactive learning sessions.

History is a great example here. Through AR, students can view historical landmarks, see rulers in their prime, and more. They can do all this without leaving their classes or moving from that location. Also, AR games help in developing critical thinking and a child’s problem-solving skills.

Imagine a game where the player or students encounter challenges that require logic or reasoning to solve. Overcoming these problems hones and exercises the mind’s ability to solve problems.

Advertising and marketing

AR is a great tool to help companies or services advertise their product in a completely new way. Imagine a travel company that wants to promote its services through an AR game. Here, users can download the app and go to specific locations to earn points. They then use these points to get discounts on travel packages or other services the company provides.

This approach helps in creating brand awareness and growing brand interest. The game’s activities stay in the player’s minds longer and make them want to play or learn more about the company.

Top AR game development tools everyone needs

AR foundation

This tool links up with Unity to build various AR gaming apps. The tool is a cross-platform framework where developers can create multi-platform experiences and increase the game’s audience. The tool also adds essential AR functionality to the game. It incorporates pre-built libraries and the source code which enhances the final product. This tool helps developers track the device’s location in the app.

Unity MARS

Unity MARS helps developers speed up the development process and increase game app development. This tool comes equipped with many templates or pre-built codes. That way, developers can incorporate dynamic objects and virtual worlds into the final product. These benefits improve the overall Augmented Reality game development cycle.

Unity as a library

This framework makes it easy for developers to manage and control the game app development process. The tool helps developers load in features that enhance the game app’s usability. Here, developers can create projects for iOS Xcode and Android Gradle through this framework.

XR interaction toolkit

This toolkit is another Unity package where developers can create interactive mobile game apps without facing much trouble. Development teams can also create interactions or devise component-focused games that improve engagement among players.

AR game development guide from start to finish

AR Game App Development Process

Listed below is the complete breakdown of the AR game development process. Aspiring developers can use this AR game development guide to put them on the right path.

Define the game

The first step to AR game development is defining what genre the AR game will fall into. You can create a puzzle or a strategy game that integrates AR to increase engagement and interaction. The idea of defining the genre first is that it helps the team better visualize what the final product looks like.

Consider the popular AR game Pokemon Go. Here, players go on an adventure where they collect and train digital creatures. These digital creatures are all overlaid on the real world. Here, players connect with other players and even have their creatures fight to decide the winner.

List out the game’s features

Now it is time to consider the game’s main features. Popular AR games rely on GPS to help in navigation and engagement. Your game should have features that add to the game’s allure and not the opposite. For example, you can share your milestones with others in puzzle-based games. Features like a scorecard are great for competitive games between friends or family.

It is always important for you to consider the elements that are important for the game’s engagement or interaction. That way, you create a product that users want to keep playing.

Finalize the tech stack

There are specific toolkits available for the sole purpose of integrating AR with a mobile app. The tech stack provided above is one such example. Also, you can use pre-defined kits if required.

The tech stack is a very important part of AR game development. Typically, you decide if you are building an Android or iOS app or a multi-platform app. From there, you decide on elements like the tools, framework, and AR kits that aid in mobile game development.

Design the levels

As the title says, this part is where the developers delve into creating the game’s levels, screens, and other details. Keep in mind that every screen the player uses must be free of clutter and organized efficiently.

Development and testing

The next step is to start working on the backend processes. Here, communication between the view layer and the database is a crucial part of the mobile game development process.

After development comes the testing phase. Similar to mobile game development, here you test the app in various scenarios to see how it reacts. This approach helps you single out any errors, bugs, or glitches and remove them. The app must have minimal errors to ensure its success on the market.

Launch and after-launch maintenance

The only thing that’s left to do now is to launch the AR game app on the store. With most games, it is enough to launch the app and wait. That is not the case with AR games.

Regular maintenance ensures the audience enjoys the app and doesn’t face any trouble. Give special attention to player feedback as they can provide suggestions that help the AR game grow its audience or increase its popularity.


Augmented Reality is a growing niche that sees new developments taking place every day. Developing mobile game applications is a great way to give players something new while also generating a profit. Combine a good idea with AR technology and you will see great success online.

There are two ways you can go about with AR game development. The first is finding the team and resources, which is a long and tedious job. The alternative is to partner with an Augmented Reality game development company that has everything you need under one roof. The future for AR games looks bright, all that’s left is taking the first step.

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