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Developers Are Searching For The Money As Apple Preps Augmented Reality For The Masses

Developers Are Searching For The Money As Apple Preps Augmented Reality For The Masses
The world is about to see why Apple CEO Tim Cook is downright giddy about augmented reality.
An iOS update away from morphing into consoles that bridge the real world and the imaginary one are hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads in circulation even while virtual reality headsets from Oculus and others have yet to go mainstream.
AR has "broad mainstream applicability across education, entertainment interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven't even thought of", Cook said on Appleā€™s latest earnings call.
ARKit, the company's homegrown technology for enabling developers to build AR apps, is Apple's big bet. Users can expect to see some splashy use cases for the technology at Apple's iPhone event on Sept. 12, in Cupertino and the AI software is among the most anticipated features of iOS 11.
Advertising is a new challenge that awaits game developers, who will surely be some of the earliest adopters of ARKit.
Mobile ads are annoying in general. But being interrupted by a video, interstitial or pop-up ad while playing an AR game in a multidimensional world is particularly hard to imagine. And for developers who want to promote a game in another app, the existing ad types do not work.
"Showing a video of someone playing an AR app doesn't tell a story," said Jonathan Zweig, a longtime entrepreneur in ad-tech and the CEO of AppOnboard.
Zweig thinks he has the solution. Zweig created AppOnboard in 2016 with the idea that people would rather play an ad than watch one two years after selling mobile ad company AdColony for $350 million. Through a demo that lasts 15 to 30 seconds, developers can advertise their games in other apps with AppOnboard's technology.
Several existing mobile games using the try-before-you-buy model are in possession of AppOnboard, which to date raised $4 million in venture funding. Partnership with Snatch, a virtual treasure hunt app, and gaming studio Lucid Sight, have been made by the company for the launch of ARKit.
"Instead of watching a video to earn currency or get to another level, you play a short demo," Zweig said. "That's a huge leap in technology."
Google said it is targeting 100 million devices by the end of the preview after the company released a sneak peak of a software development kit called ARCore for Android devices last week.
Mobile will surpass the size of the TV ad market in 2019 and will account for more than 70 percent of the $83 billion digital advertising market this year according to eMarketer.
For the current generation of games, playable ads seem to be working. While improving retention by 20 percent, it's seen playable ads drive a 30 percent increase in downloads over static ads, said mobile ad-tech start-up Vungle.
AppOnboard is expected to be one of its primary marketing channels for Snatch, a London-based start-up whose treasure hunt app went viral in the U.K. and will soon launch in the U.S.
"People will pay for that level of engagement because the results are much better," said Joe Martin, Snatch's founder and CEO, in an interview from San Francisco, where he's fundraising and gearing up to build a U.S. team. "It's better than video, better than print, or pop-up banners."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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