After three years and changes, no one seems to be able to knock Pokémon GO off its augmented reality throne. Zombies, dinosaurs and ghosts have all met defeat by the pocket monsters. Hell, not even the world's most popular wizard and developer of Pokémon GO can match the success of the original.
Maybe this is a job for Hello Kitty. Right, the patron saint of tweens around the world shoot at Pokémon GO.
On Thursday, the Developer Bublar group announced Hello Kitty AR: Kawaii World a location-based game developed in partnership with the character's founder, the Japanese Sanrio, and on the platform of Amazon Game Tech built.
Bublar Expects Testing In the first half of 2020, the game will be showcased in selected geographic markets to prepare for the launch in the summer of 2020. In the meantime, Hello Kitty fans and players can pre-register for the game on their website to receive updates and to be considered for participating in the contest beta version.
"We can now channel players and fans to our Hello Kitty AR: Kawaii World landing page," said Maria A Grimaldi, CEO of Bublar Group, in a statement. "This is the beginning of raising awareness of the exciting location-based mobile game we have in the production pipeline and we look forward to incorporating Amazon Game Tech and its cloud infrastructure."
The game also runs on the Google Maps API, the location-based gaming platform known as Basis for The Walking Dead are: Our World, Jurassic World Alive and Ghostbusters World.
The gameplay details are sparse, but based on the teaser trailer and website, the game features all the hallmarks of AR-based location-based games. Players can collect virtual objects in the real world and connect with friends in the game to play together. In addition, players can cultivate their own kawaii gardens and explore those created by others. However, it is unclear whether this means the game contains multiplayer features, such as those enabled by Spatial Anchors in Minecraft Earth.
Hello Kitty, do you have a chance of succeeding where others have come up short? Like Pokémon, Hello Kitty has its roots in Japanese culture. The brand is a cornerstone of the immensely popular Kawaii culture (the Japanese word for "sweet") in Japan, and the inclusion of Kawaii in the title of the game is no coincidence.
"Since their debut in Japan in 1974, Hello Kitty has inspired generations of people around the world with their positive message of friendship and kindness," said Jiro Kishimura, managing director at Sanrio. "With this Bublar game, our dedicated fanbase can play on their smartphones with them and the Sanrio characters wherever they are in a mixed-reality experience, and we continue to enjoy the joy of Hello Kitty and the Kawaii lifestyle to share."  Maybe this will give Hello Kitty the secret ingredient to challenge the mobile AR King for his crown?