In a blog post this morning, Niantic CEO John Hanke announced that the company behind Pokemon Go will be acquiring augmented reality API developer Escher Reality. Hanke writes it will be using this purchase to "make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year."
If you haven't heard of the smaller company quite yet, that's because it's a startup dedicated to making an augmented reality API for other developers to make games and experiences on. Over on its website, the company boasts of technology that allows AR sessions to be "multi-user," letting developers create experiences that can be viewed by multiple people on multiple devices simultaneously.
The platform also allows for a an app to store digital objects and persist across multiple sessions, a potentially useful bit of technology for developers interested in longer AR experiences.
Niantic's move to purchase Escher Reality seems to reflect an interest in not just acquiring technology for its own AR games but also an interest in stewarding a platform that may be licensed to other developers. It's also worth remembering that Niantic's primary advantage in the AR field so far has been its real-world mapping technology, so the move to acquire Escher Reality may indicate a desire to grow its camera-driven AR experiences.
If Niantic is planning to use this technology for its upcoming Harry Potter-themed game, it has not indicated so at this time.