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LyteShot Envisions Hunger Games-Style AR Tournaments

AUSTIN, TEXAS – LyteShot, an innovative augmented reality (AR) platform that blurs the line between real-life play and video games, is not content with just bringing laser tag to a generation that grew up on indoor gaming. Now that the Chicago-based startup has made waves at tech expos across the country, it has set its sights on turning AR gaming into something both accessible and huge.

I met with LyteShot at SXSW 2015, hot on the heels of their prestigious awards at CES and GDC 2015. The company has developed a Bluetooth peripheral that can connect to a variety of toys, including a futuristic gun or a magic wand, to play competitive AR games outside in real-time.

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LyteShot is the result of a successful Kickstarter project, and as such, the company is releasing its hardware and software incrementally. A hardware dev kit costs $160 and will begin shipping soon. Consumer models will be available in the third quarter of 2013 and retail for somewhere between $60 and $100, depending on how much they cost to manufacture.

When LyteShot launches, it will come with at least two games: Assassin, a form of laser tag, and Besieged, a fantasy combat game with different classes and peripherals to match. However, LyteShot hopes that the selection will be much larger, as a dev kit comes with an SDK to make other games to take advantage of its versatile peripheral.

At SXSW 2015, LyteShot talked about bigger games for the first time. Assassin and Besieged are fun, but they're not the ultimate goal of LyteShot. What the company wants to see is large-scale, Hunger Games-style tournaments, complete with huge play areas, objectives for each player to complete and prizes to be won.

Similarly, LyteShot believes it could take advantage of local neighborhood fixtures to earn money and benefit players. Imagine if stopping into Starbucks for a latte could give you an extra life, or other gameplay boosts. While it might be easy to take advantage of such a system, it could also help make LyteShot as much of a local fixture as a coffee shop.

Marshall Honorof is a senior writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.