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New mobile Harry Potter game lets you unlock the wizarding world around you

There is magic all around us and this powerful game blurs the line one step further between reality and the virtual world through the lens of Rowling’s ever-expanding wizarding universe. Niantic Labs and WB Games have teamed up to bring Harry Potter: Wizards Unite to your mobile phone, an augmented reality game igniting a powerful crossover between the magical world and Niantic’s maps that are also used for Pokemon Go.  We’ve been digging into the game to find out what it’s all about (and whether we can get a place in Hogwarts).

A portal opens somewhere. We’re not sure where, it’s a WB Games PR shot.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite not only allows you to discover ‘foundables’ in your everyday life, similar to the Pokemon Go game, but it takes the experience to another level with spells, battles, team work and even a wizarding career!
Your role will include working for the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy to keep the magical world secret from muggles. You do this by opening up the ‘foundables’ you uncover which will take you into an augmented reality (AR) experience using your phone’s camera and the app.  A foundable could be a magical beast, a friend or an enemy and you will need to react accordingly. Don’t reach for your spell book just yet though as you will be prompted to cast the appropriate spell by the app so you don’t need to learn them by rote (phew!).  In order to cast said spell, however you will need magical energy which you can collect from points on the maps such as inns and fortresses. Look out for magical ‘traces’ as these are the clues that lead to all the cool stuff.

Just watch out for people that claim to be magical creatures. They’re probably lying.

Everything you encounter will be collected in your Vault, with a Registry that’s a little like a sticker book where you can keep track of everything. This is where the addictive side of the game will come in, as you’ll want to make sure you’re filling up that Registry. You will also be able to use a Portkey to transport you to usually hidden places such as Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  You can expect to come across all your favourite characters along the way including Hagrid and the infamous Death Eaters.

As you improve your skills through your profession and collect more and more foundables, you will get more powerful and if you choose to change career, these skills will transfer with you. Jazzing up your walk to work has never been so exciting and fun. When you have battled a Dementor, released a Hippogriff and chosen a new wand all before breakfast, the rest of the day will be as easy as finding a wizard in the Great Hall.

There’s a job going here.

“We think there is adventure in every neighbourhood, wherever you live, and we will help you find it and exercise,” said John Hanke, Niantic CEO. “So all of us, from time to time, need a little nudge to get outside and get our daily steps in or get our workout in. And we want to be that nudge.”

Some random wizard losing to a Dementor.

The game has been in development for a few years and will be arriving on iPhones and Android smartphones later this year.  Bearing in mind that Pokemon Go has generated over $2 billion in revenue, there are high hopes for this game.  It’ll be free to play but supported by in-app purchase for those that take their wizarding really seriously.

Just be aware of traffic and other real world obstacles, not even magic can help you avoid those.

One of the Direct Mobiles’ team pauses to reflect for a moment.

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