When Apple first announced its ARKit developer platform, one of the examples it gave was an image that showed someone playing Dejarik, a holographic board game from the Star Wars universe. The game has been available in an augmented reality experience on the iOS "Star Wars: Jedi Challenges" app [Direct Link], but it required pieces of hardware -- namely the Lenovo Mirage AR headset -- that currently costs $149.99.
This week Disney updated the Jedi Challenges app with ARKit support, removing the requirement of a Lenovo Mirage AR headset and letting anyone with an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 play Dejarik Holochess for free (via Gizmodo UK). ARKit users are able to access the full Holochess game mode, with 18 levels taking place across six planets and including eight unlockable creatures with unique abilities. Lenovo says that Holochess mode includes around two to three hours of gameplay.
Star Wars: Jedi Challenges adds ARKit compatibility with this update. Users with an Apple device running iOS 11 can now experience the magic of augmented reality directly from their mobile device. Access the full Holochess game mode from Star Wars: Jedi Challenges including 18 levels across 6 planets and 8 unlockable creatures with unique special abilities.
Last month, Sensor Tower reported that iPhone and iPad owners worldwide have downloaded more than 13 million ARKit-only apps since the platform launched in September 2017. Games remain the dominant category for ARKit-only apps -- defined as "expressly using" Apple's framework, unlike Jedi Challenges -- having grown from representing 35 percent of downloads one month after iOS 11's launch, to 47 percent today.
Back in January, Apptopia claimed that developer use of ARKit had slowed down since it debuted in September, with growth steadily declining since the official launch. Apptopia's numbers suggested that 300 ARKit-related apps launched in September, around 200 came out in October, and 156 were released in November. The number climbed above 160 for December, but developers are said to still be figuring out the best use cases for augmented reality in general, with many ARKit-enabled apps designated as either games with AR modes attached onto them, entertainment and photo apps, or utilities.
Although ARKit has removed the need for a headset in Holochess mode, anyone who wants to partake in Star Wars: Jedi Challenge's Lightsaber Battles and Strategic Combat games will still need the Mirage headset. While Jedi Challenges is also available for Android smartphones, support for Google's ARCore has not yet been announced.