The incredible success of Pokemon GO (Free) turned everyone’s attention to what augmented technology can add to gaming (despite Pokemon GO not doing a great job actually using AR). And as the recent WWDC Apple keynote demonstrated—as well as the iPhone 8 AR functionality rumors—Apple is very interested in making AR a bigger part of the iOS platform. However, as a recent lawsuit in Milwaukee shows, there might be obstacles in the way. Apparently, Milwaukee County recently moved to regulate all augmented reality games after Pokemon GO players wrecked one of the area’s parks. This ordinance creates a permit system that will limit AR gameplay in taxpayer-funded parks.
In response, developer Candy Lab, which makes the AR game Texas Rope ‘Em (Free), sued the county, and then Milwaukee County lawyers moved to ask for the dismissal of the lawsuit. You can read about the technicalities of the laws surrounding this case here, but what’s important is that there are filings and counter-filings going on still, with a trial possible coming in spring 2018.
If the county succeeds in regulating AR use in public, taxpayer-funded spaces and other countries follow suit, AR-enabled games might be unexpectedly stunted, especially if counties start demanding fees for any AR events in public spaces. There are many ifs and buts in this story, of course, but it’s a possibility. Hopefully once Apple becomes an even bigger player in AR, issues like these will be quickly resolved.