Adidas To Release “Augmented Reality” Kicks

Adidas Promises Shoes That Act As Game Controllers

January 26, 2010 – Apparently Adidas has plans to launch a new line of “augmented reality” kicks early next month. What exactly does this mean? From what I could gather, owners of the shoes in the new AR Game Pack (the official name for the new line of sneakers) will be able to access a virtual version of the Adidas Originals Neighborhood to access exclusive games and content by scanning a code which is built into the shoe. Here’s the official description from the Adidas website:

“In 2010 we’re celebrating a lot of firsts from Adidas Originals — here’s one. We’ve created a collection of shoes with an augmented reality code built directly into the design. These five special kicks, the Adidas Originals AR Game Pack, will unlock an exciting online experience with challenging games and exclusive content living within a virtual version of the Adidas Originals Neighborhood. The experience launches right here on February 10th. Come back then and play on the street where originality lives. It’s your turn to be the first. The shoes will be available exclusively at select Champs Sports stores and www.eastbay.com beginning in mid February.”

Now that all sounds well and good, but let’s be honest. Challenging games? Most likely a Bejeweled style match-3 game where all the gems have been replaced by Adidas shoes. Exclusive content? Extremely likely to be money saving coupons for other Adidas products. To be truthful, the whole thing sounds like one big marketing ploy.

Interestingly though, Kotaku reports that the shoes will not only grant you access to the virtual world, but will also act as the games’ controller. How Adidas plans to implement such technology into the shoes is beyond me. A tiny motherboard in the bottom of the sneaker, perhaps? I doubt it. After all, who’d want to buy a shoe that would short out the second they walked through a puddle? Then again, I’m not the tech guy for a multi-million dollar international company. Regardless of how the technology works, it’s definitely a cool concept which will be interesting to watch play out.

So, is the AR Game Pack just a marketing strategy hidden behind a high tech facade or the future of online gaming? That’s for you to decide when the shoes hit store shelves February 15.