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Lego Playgrounds app hits App Store, mixing AR and real Lego pieces

Showcased at Apple's WWDC, the Lego app does multiplayer AR.

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Lego

Back in June, Apple showcased a preview of what Lego kits could do in AR using iPhones and iPads and ARKit 2 on iOS 12.

That app is here: called Lego Playgrounds, it's an app designed to work with Lego sets and also add AR gameplay layered into the real world, like a real-life version of a Lego video game.

This isn't Lego's first time in AR: the company's previous Lego AR Studio app, released at the end of 2017, also mixed virtual and real bricks. The newest app is enhanced for ARKit 2 and looks to offer more realistic effects and multiplayer AR between multiple iPhones and iPads.

Lego Playgrounds is free to download, but is designed to work with specific Lego kits, starting with two Ninjago sets (Lego Ninjago Dieselnaut and Lego Ninjago Dragon's Pit). Lego plans to introduce more compatible sets in the future, bringing "selected Lego sets and experiences to life in mixed reality experiments and other playful scenarios."

I haven't tried the final app or used it with out-of-the-box Lego sets, but I got to demo an early version earlier this year across multiple iPads. It looked impressive, but how many families will have multiple iPhones/iPads ready to go with their Lego sets? Still, it's one of the most high-profile showcases of Apple's multiplayer AR possibilities in iOS 12.

I'll check out the integration with a Lego kit in the future and post updated hands-on impressions.