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 Pokemon Go  is just the beginning for Niantic

Pokemon Go is just the beginning for Niantic

November 1, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

"I think there’s a huge space of such opportunities that’s still remaining that could hugely benefit from a platform like ours."

- Niantic's Dennis Hwang.

Over the summer, Niantic Labs and The Pokemon Company's augmented-reality game Pokemon Go took the game industry -- and pop culture at large -- by storm. 

Many game makers probably only became aware of Niantic because of Pokemon Go, but the San Francisco-based studio had previously helped create the ongoing AR game Ingress -- and devs should note that it fully intends to continue collaborating on new AR games and experiences.

"We’re looking at lots of projects. Niantic’s strategy is heavily a platform play, so we’re not trying to limit ourselves too much to one or two sets of experiences," Niantic visual design director Dennis Hwang recently told The Verge. "We want other people to be able to build interesting fictional experiences on top of the real-world-based technology that we’ve built. So it may not be Niantic that builds it, but we’re talking to a lot of interesting partners already."

Other people are certainly taking cues from Niantic, among them GoMeta, which this week unveiled a new mobile platform called Metaverse which aims to foster players (and developers) who want to create their own Pokemon Go-esque AR games.

And the future of AR game development goes beyond smartphones and tablets. Hwang -- who, incidentally, previously worked at Google and was for some time the sole person creating those famous Google Doodles -- says Niantic is keeping an eye on where AR headsets are at, and how long it will be until Pokemon Go and games like it are being played on screens mounted over players' eyes.

"it will still be a few years. The current crop of technology that’s coming up will struggle to compete against sunlight," Hwang said. "In order to overlay the information as if it’s a sci-fi movie, you know, the glare of the sunlight is quite difficult to fight against. So for the near future, it will be more of the wearables and other devices that enhance the notification element of [Pokémon Go]. But there is really cool hardware being developed, like HoloLens, and Project Tango from the Google guys, and Magic Leap, the more secretive version of it. It will be really interesting to see how this tech can help app experiences like ours."

You can read more of his comments on everything from the Pokemon Go development process to the "optimistic future" Niantic is trying to foster through game design in the full Verge Q&A.

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