Niantic, the augmented reality company that creates video games such as Pokémon GO, has secured USD 300 million in funding from Coatue, putting the firm at a value of USD 9 billion. The San Francisco-based business, which was split out from Google, will use the funds to develop what it refers to as the “real-world metaverse.” Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke refer to the metaverse, at least the one which binds individuals to Virtual reality headsets as in “Ready Player One,” as a “dystopian future” as early as August. Unlike Facebook, which rebranded to Meta to indicate its involvement in VR technology, Niantic aims to build new tech that connects individuals to their environment.
Niantic announced its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK) earlier this month, making tools for developing AR videogames widely available for free to anybody with a basic understanding of the Unity engine. Niantic believes that humans are happier when their digital world brings them to a real one. Unlike a sci-fi virtual world, a real-world metaverse will employ technologies to enhance human understanding of the universe as people have now understood it for thousands of years.
The cash will be utilized to extend the ARDK, which has already been employed to develop AR technology applications by firms such as Coachella, Historic Royal Palaces, Universal Pictures, SoftBank, Warner Music Group, as well as the PGA of America. As a result, rather than relying on technologies such as VR headsets, which are currently out of reach for a majority of the public, AR initiatives mostly rely on cellphones to inspire individuals to discover their environment. One may pass by the same painting every day, however, in Pokémon GO, a user-generated Pokéstop description may tell users what that mural signifies.
According to Niantic, tens of millions of users enjoy their applications every month, walking well over 10.9 billion kilometers in their videogames since their introduction. Niantic is developing an AR ecosystem based on a 3D map of the globe that they believe will play a significant role in the next computing transformation. They are thrilled to be collaborating with Niantic since they envisage this infrastructure enabling a metaverse for the actual world and powering the next development of the web. In Hanke’s opinion, the VR metaverse is dystopian, although AR, as with any technology, has flaws. Pikmin Bloom, Niantic’s newest game, is built around walking, which may be off-putting to older or handicapped gamers.
Pokémon GO has a handicapped player community, however, they’ve had to speak up regarding how tiny in-game changes may make the game far more accessible for folks with restricted movement. Nonetheless, Niantic’s vision provides a solution to Meta’s headset-reliant aspirations. Pokémon GO is still a resounding success, earning more than USD 1 billion in 2020 and is set to outperform that figure this year, as per-app analytics firm Sensor Tower. Not every one of its videogames is as popular; the business just announced that it would discontinue Harry Potter: Wizards Unite after in-app consumer spending and worldwide installations fell 57% year-on-year.
Jeffrey is acting editor in chief of AmazingNews24 with over seven years of experience in the field of online news under his belt. Jeffrey has worked with multiple media houses and is currently leading a team of journalists, sub-editors and writers through his entrepreneurial endeavours.