Pokemon Go Creator Niantic Acquires AR Innovator 8th Wall

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Augmented reality game developer Niantic announced Thursday that it has agreed to buy a well-known company in augmented reality circles called 8th Wall, which has developed a way for users to view AR experiences on devices. mobiles without having to open an application. .

Niantic says 8th Wall technology will become one of the tools it offers developers in its Lightship developer platform. Developers use Lightship to build games and other experiences on the same platform Niantic uses to build and deliver AR games like the popular Pokemon Go.

“By joining forces with Niantic, 8th Wall will enable more Lightship developers to realize their AR visions in the real-world metaverse,” wrote Brian McClendon, senior vice president of engineering, mapping and Niantic’s AR, in a blog post on Thursday.

Meta (formerly Facebook) put down your flag last year by declaring itself a “metaverse” company and even changing its name to reflect that idea. But the company’s vision of the community space computing environment it calls the Metaverse has so far been confined to the closed worlds of virtual reality. Niantic says its vision for the Metaverse is a more open one that doesn’t exclude the real world, but rather embraces and integrates it.

A Niantic spokesperson said fast business that he did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, but added that it is one of the largest acquisitions made by the company. As part of the acquisition, all 34 8th Wall employees will become Niantic employees and continue to work from the company’s Palo Alto headquarters.

fast business named Wall 8 to its list of the most innovative companies in the AR space in 2021. Niantic made the list in 2022.

8th Wall’s technology allows developers to build AR experiences using JavaScript and WebGL, allowing them to run in a mobile browser. Ad agencies can use the company’s WebAR tool to create experiences that run on their brand clients’ websites, viewed in Safari and Chrome on iOS and Android devices. Like Niantic’s Lightship platform, 8th Wall’s tool already supports many features of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, including light detection, surface and edge detection, and six degrees of freedom in the user’s movements. In 2020, Lego used 8th Wall to turn walls into Harry Potter sets in magical portals, and Burger King beamed the “King” and rapper Lil Yachty into viewers’ homes during the MTV VMAs.

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