Hanke is CEO and founder of Niantic.

Niantic wants to develop technology that overlays a virtual world on top of the real world, just as it does layering cute animated Pokémon creatures in the real world.

Niantic recently unveiled its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK), which makes it easy to make AR games publicly available for free to anyone to develop games for.

Niantic recently shut down its Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game, but it also recently launched Pikmin Bloom, designed to be played while walking around with a smartphone.

Sensor Tower reported that Pokémon Go earned more than $1 billion in revenue in 2020.

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games.


Pokemon GO creator Niantic has raised $300 million from investor Coatue at a valuation of $9 billion as it aims to build the real-world metaverse.

The San Francisco-based startup spun off from Alphabet Inc’s Google in 2015. John Hanke leads the firm, a former Google executive, plans to use the funds to expand its recently launched Lightship AR Development Kit platform to help developers with their AR creations and build their for ‘the Real-World Metaverse.’

The funding will help expand the Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK) to create augmented reality experiences.
Therefore, instead of using technology like VR headsets — which are only accessible to a small percentage of the world’s population — AR projects mostly use smartphones and tablets to encourage people to explore their outdoor surroundings.

Monday.

The company, spun off from Alphabet Inc’s Google in 2015 and led by former Google executive John Hanke, plans to used the funds to expand its recently launched Lightship platform to help developers with their AR creations and build their visions for “the Real-World Metaverse”.

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing,” said Matt Mazzeo, a general partner at Coatue.

A buzzword in the technology and business world since Facebook Inc changed its name, metaverse is a broad term that refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet.

Niantic was valued at nearly $4 billion in early 2019, when it raised $245 million in its Series C round of investments.

Monday.

The company, spun off from Alphabet Inc’s Google in 2015 and led by former Google executive John Hanke, plans to used the funds to expand its recently launched Lightship platform to help developers with their AR creations and build their visions for “the Real-World Metaverse”.

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing,” said Matt Mazzeo, a general partner at Coatue.

A buzzword in the technology and business world since Facebook Inc changed its name, metaverse is a broad term that refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet.

Niantic was valued at nearly $4 billion in early 2019, when it raised $245 million in its Series C round of investments.

Niantic, the augmented reality platform that’s developing games like Pokémon GO, raised $300 million from Coatue, valuing the company at $9 billion. The San Fransisco-based startup, which initially spun out of Google, will use this money to build what it calls the “real-world metaverse.”

As early as August, Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke has referred to the metaverse — at least, the one that renders us bound to VR headsets, like in “Ready Player One” — as a “dystopian nightmare.” Unlike Facebook, which changed its company name to Meta to signal its investment in VR technology, Niantic wants to develop technology that brings people closer to the outside world.

Earlier this month, Niantic unveiled its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK), which makes tools to develop AR games publicly available for free to anyone who has a basic knowledge of the Unity game engine.

“At Niantic, we believe humans are the happiest when their virtual world leads them to a physical one,” Hanke said at the time. “Unlike a sci-fi metaverse, a real-world metaverse will use technology to improve our experience of the world as we’ve known it for thousands of years.”

The funding will help expand the ARDK, which has already been used by companies like Coachella, Historic Royal Palaces, Universal Pictures, SoftBank, Warner Music Group and the PGA of America to create augmented reality experiences.

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Pokémon Go maker Niantic has raised $30o million from investor Coatue at a $9 billion valuation as it aims to build the real-world metaverse.

While Facebook/Meta is trying to build the metaverse on a foundation of virtual reality, Niantic has seen its success on location-based gaming with Pokémon Go.

And that has made it partial to creating extensions of that game for its version of the metaverse. Techcrunch reported the news.

In other words, San Francisco-based Niantic believes the metaverse can be built with AR images overlaid on the real world.

Hanke believes that the VR-based visions of the metaverse, like in Ready Player One, are more like a dystopian nightmare.

Monday.

The company, spun off from Alphabet Inc’s Google in 2015 and led by former Google executive John Hanke, plans to used the funds to expand its recently launched Lightship platform to help developers with their AR creations and build their visions for “the Real-World Metaverse”.

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing,” said Matt Mazzeo, a general partner at Coatue.

A buzzword in the technology and business world since Facebook Inc changed its name, metaverse is a broad term that refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet.

Niantic was valued at nearly $4 billion in early 2019, when it raised $245 million in its Series C round of investments.

We are excited to partner with Niantic because we see this infrastructure supporting a metaverse for the real world and helping to power the next evolution of the internet.”

The VR metaverse might be “dystopian” in Hanke’s eyes, but like any technology, AR isn’t without its problems. Niantic’s newest game, Pikmin Bloom, is designed around walking, which can be alienating to elderly or disabled players.
Pokémon GO has a community of disabled players, but they’ve had to speak out about how certain small in-game tweaks can make the game much more accessible for people with limited mobility.

Still, Niantic’s vision offers an alternative to Meta’s headset-dependent plans. Pokémon GO remains a smash success — it earned over $1 billion in 2020 and is already on track to outpace that revenue this year, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

So, instead of using technology like VR headsets — which are still inaccessible to much of the population — AR projects mostly use smartphones to encourage people to explore their outside surroundings. You might walk by the same mural every day, for example, but in Pokémon GO, a user-generated Pokéstop description might tell you what that mural actually represents.

Niantic says that tens of millions of people play Niantic’s games each month, walking more than 10.9 billion miles in their games since launch.

The Niantic EC-1

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing,” said Matt Mazzeo, a general partner at Coatue.

Monday.

The company, spun off from Alphabet Inc’s Google in 2015 and led by former Google executive John Hanke, plans to used the funds to expand its recently launched Lightship platform to help developers with their AR creations and build their visions for “the Real-World Metaverse”.

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing,” said Matt Mazzeo, a general partner at Coatue.

A buzzword in the technology and business world since Facebook Inc changed its name, metaverse is a broad term that refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet.

Niantic was valued at nearly $4 billion in early 2019, when it raised $245 million in its Series C round of investments.

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