Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.

Ross Finman grew up on a llama farm. He studied robotics, started an augmented reality firm called Escher Reality, and sold it to Pokémon Go creator Niantic last year.

That’s how he came to be head of AR at the biggest company in augmented reality today and how he came to speak at our GamesBeat Summit 2019 event in a fireside chat in April with TV and gaming personality Blair Herter. The embedded video is interesting to watch ahead of next week’s Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California.

Niantic has made no secret that Pokémon Go is a kind of stepping stone for the potential of AR, which could span many industries and lead to gaming experiences that could be far more engaging than the relatively crude AR in games today.

“The most interesting question is, ‘How do you take this and make it fun?'” Herter asked in the fireside chat.


GamesBeat Summit 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in Los Angeles this May 22-23. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.

Register Here

“First there’s the novelty factor, where a lot of augmented reality is today,” Finman said. “What are the new mechanics that you can work to create [for] new game loops that make people want to come back to it. We released the new AR photo feature, and that had significant take off.”

But that won’t make people happy in the future. The tech is a couple of generations ahead of where the games and applications are today, Finman said. Game companies need time to absorb new technologies and figure out what to do with them.

“What is new about augmented reality? There are two main tech mechanics,” he said. “The position of the device matters. Being able to move around. That is where a lot of AR is today. The second is the real world becomes content. How can games change based on where you are? If you are by a beach, are there more water Pokémon coming out? That’s where the new game loops are being explored.”

Please check out the full talk in the video.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.