Niantic reveals vision for a ‘real world metaverse’, launches Lightship AR developer kit – TechCrunch

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Technology company AR Niantic, best known for Pokémon GO, announced today that it will launch Lightship, an AR Developer Kit (ARDK) that will make creating augmented reality experiences more accessible. This free and openly available technology will help Niantic lay the foundation for its vision of the “real world metaverse.”

At the launch of the program live broadcastNiantic CEO John Hanke referenced his blog post calling the metaverse “dystopian nightmare. But even as Facebook changes its name to Meta and heralds a future dominated by VR headsets, Niantic is envisioning an alternative: a metaverse that brings people together in person, rather than in a virtual world.

Niantic’s existing games emphasize outdoor activity and meeting new people. Before doing pandemic era adjustments To play remotely, certain aspects of Pokémon GO, such as the legendary raid battles, could only be played if enough players worked together simultaneously. Local Discord communities jump around launching Legendary Raid Battles in 2017, helping people coordinate real-world gatherings to try and catch a Lugia or Articuno together.

TO Niantic, wme to believe humans is it so the happier when its virtual world Guides them for to physical one, ”Hanke said. “Unlike a science fiction metaverse, a real-world metaverse will use technology to enhance our experience of the world as we’ve known it for thousands of years.”

By launching Lightship ARDK, developers can use the base of games like Ingress, Pokémon Go, and Pikmin Bloom to create new projects. The company is also opening a $ 20 million Niantic Ventures fund, which will invest in companies that align with Niantic’s vision. At launch, Niantic has already partnered with brands like Coachella, Historic Royal Palaces, Universal Pictures, PGA of America, and more, who have used their ARDK.

The Software Development Kit will help developers create experiences for iOS and Android by integrating with Unit, a software that is used to create 3D, 2D, VR and AR experiences. Offers the top of Niantic three functions of AR – Real-time mapping, semantic segmentation and multiplayer capabilities – making the tools that Niantic has developed over the years available to any budding creative.

“You just need a little experience in Unity, and it’s actually easy to learn,” said Amanda Whitt, product manager for Niantic, in a question and answer session today.

The new Lightship ARDK is available today to any interested developer of the Niantic Lightship website.

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