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Harry Potter to get the Pokémon GO treatment

Can expelliarmus get your kid to put down their phone? You'll need to know soon

If you're not keen on augmented reality, Harry Potter, kids whose lives seem to be lived through mobile devices, or all of the above: brace yourself.

The Register offers that advice because Niantic, the company behind 2016's augmented reality smash Pokémon GO, has announced that next year it'll unleash a new game titled “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”.

The company promises that players “will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover and fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.” The game will also “leverage the full stack of the Niantic Platform while also providing an opportunity to pioneer all new technology and gameplay mechanics.”

If this game is half as good as Pokémon GO, the world's streets will soon be awash with kids taking down trolls and/or summoning patronuses (patronii? - Ed) to defeat Voldemort. If it's been done well, prepare for augmented reality hype to trend towards its power as a community-builder.

If it's been done badly, prepare for schools to ban the game to kill off nasty Gryffindor vs. Slytherin feuds that promote bullying.

Prepare, also, for some wowser, somewhere, to spark a moral panic by objecting to the game's supposedly occult content. Next? A security incident of course, as scum use the game for phishing or worse. Much worse, seeing as it will be kids playing.

Niantic's not saying when the game will debut. Northern spring seems a sensible guess, because nobody wants Harry Potter and the Nasty Cold. ®

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