Video gaming

The next Pokémon Go? Star Wars unveils huge augmented-reality game based on ‘Last Jedi’ film

Nintendo scored a huge hit with Pokemon Go last year and Disney is keen to emulate this, releasing its own augmented-reality treasure hunt

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 6:00pm

If it can work for Pokémon, then why not for the world of Obi-Wan?

An augmented-reality experience as real-world physical hunt is being rolled out next month by another global entertainment franchise, with the next Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, on the near horizon.

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ to feature new Asian female character

Last summer, as the AR scavenger hunt from Pikachu’s universe exploded – spurring a US$7.5 billion market-value surge for maker Nintendo – what’s to keep the Comcasts and Apples and Amazons and Disneys of the world from making our naturally 3D world the exciting new area of augmented exploration on a scale as massive as Pokémon Go?

The short answer from Disney is apparently nothing. It is unveiling its promotional stunt of a free “treasure hunt” on a rather massive scale, the company announced last week.

As the first wave of Last Jedi merchandise lands on September 1 (aka “Force Friday II”), the Find the Force AR game – involving about 20,000 stores in 30 countries – will let participants hunt down 15 Star Wars characters, two are which are new.

Beijing’s ban puts stop to Pokemon Go in China

To play, fans need to download the Star Wars smartphone app, head to one of a fleet of participating stores and uncover potentially talking virtual characters by pointing the phone at the Find the Force placard.

The app encourages social-media sharing of your character experiences, with the big carrot urging that you share being a sweepstakes contest that closes September 3.

“We are excited that augmented reality will allow fans to experience the universe in a whole new way,” says Kathleen Kennedy, president of Disney-owned Lucasfilm.

Pokemon master arrives in Hong Kong on worldwide quest to complete his collection

The original Star Wars, of course, birthed the entire modern era of film tie-in merchandise four decades ago, so it’s only apt that this franchise is aiming to push the AR promotional game to a new level.

Plus, after the Force Awakens merchandising success of adorable new droid BB-8, Disney/Lucasfilm is now poised to capitalise on the introduction of furry new Last Jedi characters the Porgs – wet-eyed space puffins from Planet Ahch-To that appear to be ideal stocking stuffers.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in the US on December 15, and some stores will participate in the game till then.