What is Niantic? If they acknowledge the identify, most individuals would rightly inform you it’s an organization that makes cell video games, like Pokémon GO, or Ingress, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
But nobody at Niantic actually appears to field it up as a cell gaming firm. Making these video games is a giant a part of what the corporate does, sure, however the video games are a part of an even bigger image: they’re a springboard, a spot to determine the constraints of what they’ll do with augmented actuality immediately, and to determine methods to construct the tech that strikes it ahead. Niantic desires to wrap their learnings again right into a platform upon which others can construct their very own AR merchandise, be it video games or one thing else. And they need to be prepared for no matter comes after smartphones.
Niantic is a wager on augmented actuality changing into increasingly more part of our lives; when that occurs, they need to be the corporate that powers it.
This is Part three of our EC-1 collection on Niantic, its previous, current, and potential future. You can discover Part 1 right here and Part 2 right here. The studying time for this text is 24 minutes (6,050 phrases)
The platform play
After the absurd launch of Pokémon GO, everybody needed a bit of the AR pie. Niantic acquired extra pitches than they may tackle, I’m informed, as rights holders massive and small reached out to see if the corporate may construct one thing with their IP or franchise.
But Niantic couldn’t construct all of it. From artwork, to audio, to even simply pondering up new gameplay mechanics, every recreation or challenge they took on would require a mountain of assets. What in the event that they targeted on letting these different corporations construct these kinds of issues themselves?
That’s the concept behind Niantic’s Real World Platform. This platform is a key a part of Niantic’s recreation plan transferring ahead, with the corporate having as many individuals engaged on the platform because it has on its marquee cash maker, Pokémon GO.
There are tons of items that go into making issues like GO or Ingress, and Niantic has spent the higher a part of the final decade determining methods to make all of them match collectively. They’ve constructed the core engine that powers the video games and, after a bumpy begin with Pokémon GO’s launch, discovered methods to scale it to a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe. They’ve put appreciable work into determining methods to detect cheaters and spoofers and provides them the boot. They’ve constructed a social layer, with methods like friendships and commerce. They’ve already amassed that real-world location knowledge that proved so difficult again when it was constructing Field Trip, with all of these real-world factors of curiosity that now function portals and Pokéstops.
Niantic might assist different corporations with real-world occasions, too. That may appear humorous after the mess that was the primary Pokémon GO Fest (as detailed in Part II). But Niantic rotated, went again to the identical metropolis the following yr, and pulled it off. That expertise — that battle-testing — is efficacious. Meanwhile, the corporate has pulled off numerous large Ingress occasions, and numerous Pokémon GO aspect occasions known as “Safari Zones.” CTO Phil Keslin confirmed to me that occasion administration is deliberate as a part of the platform providing.
As Niantic builds new tech — like, say, extra superior AR or sooner methods to sync AR experiences between units — it’ll all get rolled into the platform. With every drawback they clear up, the platform providing would develop.
But first they should show that there’s a platform to face on.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Niantic’s platform, because it exists immediately, is the results of years of constructing their very own video games. It’s the gathering of instruments they’ve constructed and rebuilt alongside the way in which, and that already powers Ingress Prime and Pokémon GO. But to show itself as a platform firm, Niantic wants to indicate that they’ll do it once more. That they’ll take these engines, these instruments, and, working with one other staff, use them for one thing new.