The thing is, I believe that currently "mobile" and "immersion" are conflicting goals. Our mobile platforms are way too limited to enable immersion:
- Battery capacity is very restricted
- Screen size is quite small
- Processing power and sensor accuracy are low (but I expect these issues to be alleviated soon)
As augmented reality enthusiasts we can ignore those problems, and just wait for them to go away once head-up-displays, powered by fuel cells, become wildly available. But this is a counter-productive approach, and still targets gamers. There is another approach - casual games. They fit the character of most smart phone owners and play nicely on the current available hardware. Most importantly, casual games are amongst the most purchased applications on the various app stores (here's WSJ covering the phenomenon called Angry Birds).
We need to explore casual augmented reality games. Smart phones are on the brink of making such games plausible (if they aren't already) but we still have to tackle the hardest problem - designing a compelling gameplay. Obviously, games that only use the camera's input as a backdrop to a game, such as Firefigther 360, won't cut it.
I asked on twitter what could such a game be, and skry suggested: "On your daily walk/run, some of the course offers a round of DDR, hopscotch, or calisthenics". Frogger across real roads is another interesting proposition. What do you think? Will there be an AR equivalent of Tetris, Sokoban and Angry Birds?
To get your creative juices flowing I've attached two casual AR games that I really like, though both are not based on smart phones. The first is Carcade, a game you can play while riding a train by students at Berlin University of the Arts. The other is Candy Wars by students of the Augmented Environments lab at Georgia Tech (though it's cheating a little bit, since it requires additional objects).