The Niantic company, which initially spun off from Google and has been considered a leader in augmented reality after developing its famous game Pokemon Go , will join the list of companies that are exploring the world of metaverses .
Thanks to an investment of 300 million dollars , contributed by the investment manager Coatue , they will develop their project “ metaverse of the real world ”. This investment, in addition to allowing the company to develop other projects, increased its value to 9 billion dollars.
According to Coatue General Partner Matt Mazzeo, Niantic is building a platform based on a 3D map of the world that they believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing. “We are excited to partner with Niantic because we see that this infrastructure supports a metaverse for the real world and helps drive the next evolution of the Internet .”
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Niantic wants to develop technology that brings people closer to the outside world, which is why it presented its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK) , which makes the tools for developing AR games available to the public and free, which can be used by anyone with knowledge of core of the Unity game engine .
Coatue ‘s investment will help Niantic expand the ARDK , which has already been used by companies such as Coachella , Historic Royal Palaces , Universal Pictures , SoftBank , Warner Music Group and the PGA of America to create augmented reality experiences . The idea is to replace technology such as virtual reality headsets, which are still inaccessible to much of the population, with AR projects that primarily use smartphones to encourage people to explore their outside environment.
Niantic gives as an example the fact that people can walk through the same mural and receive a description of what that mural represents from Pokéstop . According to the company, millions of people play its games every month, prompting them to walk more than 10.9 billion miles on its games since its launch.
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“At Niantic , we believe humans are happiest when their virtual world transitions into a physical one,” explained John Hanke , Founder and CEO of Niantic. “Unlike a science fiction metaverse, a real-world metaverse will use technology to enhance our experience of the world as we’ve known it for thousands of years.”
Other projects that Niantic will develop are new games and applications and the growth of its Lightship platform, which will allow developers around the world to realize their visions for augmented reality and the metaverse of the real world .
Meanwhile, Pokémon GO remains a huge success: it raised more than $ 1 billion in 2020 and is expected to exceed that amount of revenue in 2021, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower . While it has more games, they have not had the same approval as Pokémon GO among their audiences: Niantic announced that it will close Harry Potter: Wizards Unite after consumer spending on the application and global installs fell 57% year-over-year.
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