Niantic and Punchdrunk Partner to Develop New AR Projects

Punchdrunk, the British theater company that produced “Sleep No More,” and Niantic, developer of popular mobile games “Pokémon Go” and “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” are teaming up to collaborate on several projects. In “Sleep No More” — an immersive but not interactive show — audience members walked through rooms at their own pace, with actors performing hour-long loops. Punchdrunk already produced a virtual reality project for Samsung Gear VR and a mobile game with Silverpoint. The two companies haven’t released details on their first project. Continue reading Niantic and Punchdrunk Partner to Develop New AR Projects

Niantic Creates Virtual Format for Two-Day Pokémon GO Fest

Rather than bringing people together in a park, Niantic‘s Pokémon GO Fest 2020 will enable gamers from around the world to join virtually from July 25 to July 26. Niantic chief executive John Hanke referenced COVID-19 when he explained his company wants to support players during the lockdown. “We want to bring the fun, and we want to make a safe adventure for people, as we have in the past year after year,” he said. He added that Niantic supports Black Lives Matter and wants to be a force for good for users and their communities. Continue reading Niantic Creates Virtual Format for Two-Day Pokémon GO Fest

Niantic Acquires 6D.ai with Plans for Large-Scale AR Projects

Niantic has acquired 6D.ai, an augmented reality company that is building a 3D map of the world via smartphone cameras. According to Niantic chief executive John Hanke, the resulting dynamic 3D world map will enable developers to create planet-scale AR experiences. On the company blog, he stated that, “this means we’re even closer to an AR platform that will unlock the ability for any developer to make content for current and future AR hardware.” Founded in 2017, 6D.ai was spun out of Oxford University’s Active Vision Lab. Continue reading Niantic Acquires 6D.ai with Plans for Large-Scale AR Projects

Qualcomm Targets 5G, Mixed Reality With Snapdragon XR2

Qualcomm debuted Snapdragon XR2, which the company is dubbing “the world’s first 5G XR platform.” This second generation mixed reality chipset follows the debut of Snapdragon XR1 in May 2018, which provided “the minimum criteria for immersion” in mixed reality and was intended to lower the price of components for XR headsets (it was used in AR glasses such as Google Glass Enterprise). Qualcomm is presenting Snapdragon XR2, however, as more powerful than the Snapdragon 835 that powered the Oculus Quest VR headset. Continue reading Qualcomm Targets 5G, Mixed Reality With Snapdragon XR2

Augmented Reality Drives Need for New Cloud Infrastructure

The potential of augmented reality is massive but despite software development kits including Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, Amazon Sumerian and Microsoft’s Mixed Reality ecosystem, actual implementations have been limited. That’s because the current cloud infrastructure constrains actual consumer-facing AR projects. The popularity of “Pokémon Go” in summer of 2016 was an example of that; at the first Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago, 20,000 players experienced slowdowns and outages due to constrained network bandwidth. Continue reading Augmented Reality Drives Need for New Cloud Infrastructure

Niantic Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance AR Gaming Features

Niantic, the company that released “Pokémon Go,” just acquired Matrix Mill, a U.K.-based computer vision/machine learning startup, with the goal of expanding its augmented reality capabilities. Niantic chief executive John Hanke also stated that the company this year will release a “major update” to its “Ingress” game as well as a new AR game, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” and reveal additional games in the next few weeks. At an event, developers and journalists were able to try out the platform powering these games. Continue reading Niantic Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance AR Gaming Features

Nintendo Bringing its Popular Games to Apple Mobile Devices

At the Apple iPhone 7 launch, Niantic Labs chief executive John Hanke announced that “Pokémon Go” — which has been downloaded 500 million times worldwide — is coming to the Apple Watch. Following the announcement Nintendo shares skyrocketed 20 percent; since that and the debut of “Super Mario Run” (coming to iOS this year), the company’s shares have risen more than 65 percent in the past few months. With the new Pokémon app, the company has improved its safety: players can simply walk without having to constantly look for what Pokémon are nearby. Continue reading Nintendo Bringing its Popular Games to Apple Mobile Devices

The Makers of ‘Ingress’ Create Another Alternate Reality Game

Google’s Niantic Labs has just released the first phase of its ambitious new project to create a fictional universe through a series of interconnected novels, movies, and alternate-reality games. The first novel, “Endgame: The Calling” and the alternate reality game made their debut this week. During the first phase of the launch, what happens in the game will affect the story of the upcoming books. The mobile game that accompanies the story will be launched next year. Continue reading The Makers of ‘Ingress’ Create Another Alternate Reality Game

Google’s Ingress Game Combines Virtual and Real World Play

“Ingress,” a multiplayer game that uses the entire globe as its game board, made its debut on iOS this week. Now, iPhone users can join in the fun of working with other online gamers to find real life portals in their community and progress through the “Risk”-like game. “Ingress” already has about four million downloads on Android devices in about 200 countries. Google has also taken advantage of advertising opportunities, allowing businesses to pay to become a portal. Continue reading Google’s Ingress Game Combines Virtual and Real World Play