Just a few years ago, tech evangelists touted Niantic Inc., makers of the hit game Pokemon Go, as proof of the metaverse’s enormous and growing business potential. But now, after the lackluster debut of yet another augmented reality game, Niantic looks like something else – further testament to the metaverse’s vast and growing business problems.
On May 9th, San Francisco-based, closely affiliated software maker launched Peridot, a free pet simulator game for mobile phones that aims to merge the digital and physical worlds into what the company calls a “real-world metaverse.” ” After downloading the Peridot app, players slip into a unique Dot and name their new digital pet. Using the phone’s camera lens, the game then overlays the user’s pet into the real-world environment where the user points their phone at, for example, a patch of grass in their backyard. From there, the Dot can run out into the yard through the phone’s vision, chase tennis balls, dig up treats, and interact with the objects around them as they develop skills and grow.
Despite plenty of furball cuteness and some compelling visuals, the game has arrived with a whimper so far. After a week, amid a string of negative app store reviews, Peridot has generated 675,000 downloads from May 9 launch to May 13, according to researcher Sensor Tower. Some reviewers have complained that augmented reality is inconsistent and is rapidly draining phones’ battery life. Others have criticized the game’s monetization strategy around growing dots. The game has a rating of 3 out of 5 on Google’s Play Store.
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