Star Wars ‘holochess’ comes to Apple iOS devices

April 18, 2018

Disney has incorporated Apple’s newly released augmented reality framework to let iOS users play rounds of Dejarik, a holographic chess-like strategy game initially featured in the first Star Wars film.

An update to the “Jedi Challenges” iOS game released Tuesday leverages Apple’s mobile AR platform, ARKit, to bring to life Dejarik, the “Holochess” game that first appeared in 1977′s Star Wars, Episode IV - A New Hope.

“Jedi Challenges adds ARKit compatibility with this update. Users with an Apple device running iOS 11 can now experience the magic of augmented reality directly from their mobile device,” reads Tuesday’s update.

Holochess is “a popular strategy game played throughout the Galaxy,” according to Disney, but until recently played it required either expensive headgear or a spot aboard the Millennium Falcon.

Disney previously included Holochess in a version of “Jedi Challenges” released in late 2017 as a $200 standalone product that required a specialized AR headset manufactured by Lenovo sold coupled with a Bluetooth-enabled lightsaber and mini-games.

Tuesday’s free update doesn’t require hardware besides an iPhone or iPad, however, and instead it uses the devices’ high-definition cameras and augmented reality capabilities to give Stars Wars fans an affordable alternative for living out their desire to dominate Wookiees in complimentary rounds of Dejarik.

Apple in September launched its new ARKit framework in tandem with the release of iOS 11, and over 13 million augmented reality apps built using ARKit were downloaded between then and March, according to a report released last month by SensorTower, a San Francisco-based app analytics service.

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