'Pokémon Go' will better blend AR creatures into the real world

You can also help map the world by scanning PokéStops.


Pokémon Go’s augmented reality effect has always been a bit underwhelming when critters tend to float in front of objects, but Niantic hopes to make it more immersive. It’s testing a Reality Blending feature that will use newer AR functionality to hide your Buddy Pokémon behind trees and other real-world objects. The current effect isn’t quite as convincing as the image above would have you belive (it’s a bit crude), but it’s less jarring than no object recognition at all.

The initial testing will be limited to a handful of random Android players using the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S10, Pixel 3 and Pixel 4. Niantic plans to expand the feature to other devices going forward. With that said, we can’t imagine the company being in a rush when the pandemic still dictates avoiding other people.

If it is safe to venture outside, though, you can soon help improve AR features. The developers are working on a PokéStop Scan that, like a similar feature in Ingress, lets you help map a location in AR by recording short (under 10 seconds) videos of the area. These will help Niantic create 3D maps of PokéStops and Gyms to refine the overall experience. Niantic says it doesn’t collect personal data and won’t link the scans to specific accounts, so it’s really down to your eagerness to contribute.

This feature should be available to level 40 players in early June.