Today both Unity and Unreal Engine announced support for Google’s ARCore SDK, Android’s answer to Apple’s recently released ARKit. So what are ARCore (and ARKit)? These are SDKs making it easier to implement augmented reality applications on mobile devices.
First, Unity’s announcement:
Unity and Google have a shared vision of democratizing Virtual and Augmented Reality development. Unity’s XR team has been working hand-in-hand with the Immersive Computing team at Google to overcome some of the most difficult challenges AR development presents.
One of the biggest challenges that developers face is ensuring that their apps and experiences are available to the widest possible audience. To overcome this challenge, AR needs to work on hardware that users already own, such as mobile devices. Technologies like ARCore present new opportunities for delivering AR experiences to millions of users. With this SDK, developers can use Unity to easily create new high-performance AR Android Apps or upgrade existing apps with exciting AR functionality.
Then Unreal Engine’s announcement:
Google has announced ARCore, which brings augmented reality (AR) functionality to Android smartphones starting today. This is great news because you can immediately get started with Google’s developer preview of ARCore, which includes Unreal Engine support!
ARCore enables AR development across the Android ecosystem, giving developers the ability to make compelling AR experiences without the need for any additional hardware.
Today, the ARCore SDK supports the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 7.0 Nougat and above. As the developer preview is refined, Google is adding new devices, with a target of 100 million devices at launch.
We at Epic are working to empower developers to create amazing AR experiences using Unreal Engine, which is gaining deeper AR platform support by the day. Unreal Engine 4.18, coming in mid-October, is shaping up to be a major release for AR, with more mature ARKit support, along with early access support for ARCore.
I personally don’t see the point behind AR beyond a marketing exercise. Augmented reality applications have been around since the beginning of modern smart phones. Are you more excited about AR? Or like me do you just view this as a the next gimmick marketing move?