What if you could play Pokémon Go without holding a phone? And what if you could fight with your friends, no matter where they are in the world? This is something we got a taste of at the Microsoft Ignite conference today, when Niantic CEO John Hanke demonstrated how the game can be on the HoloLens 2 AR headset. But getting to that device was not the only leap – the demo was also powered by Microsoft’s Mesh platform, an easy way for developers to create their own virtual collaborative spaces. Instead of just being a solution for external work meetings, have Pokémon Go demo shows us how Mesh can also reshape how we socialize and play externally.
The demo was just a testament to the concept, not something that actually ran on HoloLens 2, but it’s a sign of what’s coming. While wearing the headset, Hanke strolled through a park and met a wild Pikachu. He opened his palm – usually where HoloLens apps place the menus – highlighted a strawberry and fed it. As he walked around, he could see other wild Pokémon strolling around. The demo ended just as he met a colleague, who challenged him to battle. Although this was a rough demonstration, it would be nice to take a closer look at what an actual match would look like.