Urian B., Tech Times
Niantic has just been able to raise its valuation to $9 billion after recently raising $300 million from Coatue. Aside from Facebook’s Meta, Niantic is also another company with its eye on the metaverse.
Niantic Plans to Build ‘Real-World Metaverse’
The augmented reality platform mostly popular for developing games like Pokemon Go, Niantic, will be using the raised money to build what they are calling the “real-world metaverse” according to the company’s blog post. Niantic is a San Francisco-based startup that had initially spun out of Google.
As of early August, John Hanke, the Founder and CEO of Niantic, referred to the metaverse as a “dystopian nightmare.” The type of metaverse being described is the one that renders users bound to using VR headsets just like in the movie “Ready Player One.”
Meta vs. Niantic
Facebook, on the other hand, has decided to change its name to Meta in order to signal its investment towards VR technology. Niantic, on the other hand, wants to develop technology that will bring people closer towards the outside world.
In early November, Niantic officially revealed its Lightship AR Developer Kit or ARDK. The ARDK makes tools that can be used to develop AR games publicly available and also for free for anyone who has basic knowledge of designing a game through the Unity game engine.
Niantic to Create Real-World Metaverse
According to the story by TechCrunch, Hanke noted during that time that at Niantic, they believe humans are actually at their happiest when their virtual world would lead them towards a physical one. Hanke said that unlike a sci-fi metaverse, creating a real-world metaverse will utilize technology in order to be able to improve users’ experience of the world as they have already known for thousands of years.
The funding is expected to help expand the ARDK, which has already been utilized by companies like Historic Royal Palaces, SoftBank, Universal Pictures, Warner Music Group, the PGA of America, and Coachella in order to create augmented reality experiences. Instead of locking people in through the use of VR headsets, AR projects work by having participants use their smartphones in order to encourage people to explore what’s around them.
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Success of Pokemon Go
Niantic shared that tens of millions of people play the popular Pokemon Go game every month walking over 10.9 billion miles ever since the launch of the game. A General Partner at Coatue, Matt Mazzeo, said that Niantic is building a platform for AR based on an actual 3D map of the world that they believe will play quite a critical role when it comes to the next transition in computing.
Mazzeo shared that they are excited to partner with Niantic due to them seeing the infrastructure support the metaverse for the real world and also help to power the next evolution of the internet itself.
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Written by Urian B.
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