Phenomenology, Pokémon Go, and Other Augmented Reality Games: A Study of a Life Among Digital Objects

Human Studies 41 (2):211-232 (2018)
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the effects on the everyday world of actual Augmented Reality games which introduce digital objects in our surroundings from a phenomenological point of view. Augmented Reality is a new technology aiming to merge digital and real objects, and it is becoming pervasively used thanks to the application for mobile devices Pokémon Go by Niantic. We will study this game and other similar applications to shed light on their possible effects on our lives and on our everyday world from a phenomenological perspective. In the first part, we will show how these digital objects are visualised as merged in the surroundings. We will point out that even if they are visualised as part of the everyday world, they are not part of it because they are still related to the fictional world generated by the game. In the second part, we will show how the existence of these objects in their fictional world has effects on the everyday world where everybody lives. The goal of Augmented Reality is not reached yet because these objects are not part of the everyday world, but it already makes our lives embedded with digital elements. We will show if these new objects have effects on our world and on how we live our lives.

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Nicola Liberati
Shanghai Jiao Tong University