May 28, 2022

Just a month after its latest acquisition of the WebAR 8th Wall development platform, Niantic today announced the acquisition of New Zealand-based augmented reality studio NZXR. These strategic acquisitions are part of Niantic’s broader plan to create a so-called “real world metaverse” that relies on AR rather than VR.

The NZXR came about during the pandemic, when the Wellington team was fired from their work on Magic Leap, a corporate augmented reality headset. Instead of going their separate ways, the team built their own business, working on projects like Skatrix AR skateboarding and Destination Mars interactive theater.

According to NZXR’s own statement Blog post, the company partnered with Niantic before accepting their offer of a permanent partnership and becoming part of a company that develops games such as Pokémon Go. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When Niantic CEO John Hanke wrote:The Metaverse is a dystopian nightmare This resonated with us far more than any Metaverse promotional material before or since,” wrote NZXR. “There is no better world. It will take a lot of work and Niantic has shown us what they are willing to do.”

In November, Niantic introduced the free Lightship AR Development Kit to make AR experiences more accessible. Soon after, the creators of Pokémon Go and Ingress raised $300 million at a $9 billion valuation in an effort to create a “metaverse” that brings people together through shared technology experiences. This summer, Niantic is trying to fulfill that promise by hosting community days or get-togethers for people who play its AR games in 65 countries around the world. Meanwhile, it will be difficult for Niantic to bridge the gap between “people staring at their phones and catching Pokémon in the same place” and “people actually interacting for general entertainment in augmented reality games.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.