Niantic, the augmented reality platform behind Pokémon Go, is acquiring the WebAR 8th Wall development platform, the company announced on Thursday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Niantic says the deal is its largest acquisition to date. The company says this acquisition will help developers improve their developer platform as well as help them shape their vision for AR.
Founded in 2016, 8th Wall now supports billions of devices worldwide, including 5 billion iOS and Android smartphones, as well as computers and AR/VR headsets, according to Niantic. The platform has been used to create AR activations by a number of companies including Netflix, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, and others.
“From the beginning, Niantic wanted to create augmented reality technology that would allow people to connect with others, discover new places, and play with friends in the real world,” Niantic said in a blog post about the announcement. “To make this possible, we combine physical and digital data to create the world’s most accurate 3D map of the planet. Launched globally last November, our Lightship platform provides all developers with the world’s largest immersive canvas to bring their creations to life. 8th Wall is a great addition to our Lightship vision and we plan to expand our developer platform tools with their proven WebAR technology.
In a blog post on the acquisition, 8th Wall Founder and CEO Eric Murphy-Chutorian said that by joining Niantic, 8th Wall will be able to create more tools to create engaging augmented reality experiences that encourage people to discover new places.
“We launched 8th Wall to create powerful computer vision technology that allows developers to create augmented reality applications that can run seamlessly anywhere,” said Murphy-Chutorian. “We did this with a whole suite of WebAR creation tools. There is a lot of potential for Internet-based augmented reality, and we will continue to explore it through the lens of Niantic’s real-life augmented reality universe. We look forward to working with Niantic to create the best planet-level platform technologies that will make the overall experience even more magical. ,
A few months after the acquisition, Niantic raised $300 million from Coatue, valuing the company at $9 billion. The company plans to use this investment to create what it calls the “real world metaverse.”
Pokémon Go, arguably the company’s most popular venture, has proven successful, raising over $1 billion in 2020, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. Not all Niantic games have been successful – the company recently announced the closure of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite as in-app consumer spending and global installs dropped 57% year-over-year.