Niantic, the game development startup, firmly believes that it knows about the future of consumer computing; it will head towards augmented reality. Niantic, the creators of ‘Pokemon GO’, hopes to develop an early advantage in foundational augmented reality infrastructure and work closely with third-party developers to edge out efforts of larger companies.
The 2016 hit creation, Pokemon GO, is still bankrolling their experiments. As per SensorTower’s estimate, it is currently having its best year ever and has brought in an excess of $1 billion in revenue since the beginning of the year. Such tremendous profits must be due to the pandemic’s social effects, but it has allowed the firm to be more active in the augmented reality infrastructure space and acquire 6D.ai., a small AR startup.
Collect 3D information
This particular purchase has acted as a signal for what Niantic’s next plans are for its AR platform. The startup was creating cloud AR mapping software, with firms like Airbnb among its initial clients. The technology allowed people to swiftly collect 3D information of a space just by holding up their smartphone to the world. The acquisition has allowed Niantic to integrate the technology into its developer platform. They are aiming to blend it with their advances in semantic understanding to quickly understand the geometry of a space and also what the objects are that form that 3D mesh.
Joel Hesch, the company’s senior director of engineering, said that for a remarkable augmented reality experience, everything needs to come together. One must have precise location information to view content in the right location and experience things together with others present there. Hesch also said that one needs to have geometric information for aspects like physical interactions or occlusion. He further mentioned that one must know about what things mean from a semantic point of view for his/her characters to interact with the world intelligently.
Niantic has been developing the tech and is also asking Pokemon GO players to capture videos of some destinations and landmarks. The firm then uses the visual data into bulking up models as well as enhancing experiences for users. As people get access to more advanced technology such as the iPhone 12 Pro’s lidar sensor, Niantic is likely to obtain more useful data themselves.
The startup explains that the data collection’s ultimate goal is to create an ever-updating 3D world map. The game development firm’s latest technology lets them look closely into this map and distinguish the kinds of scenes and objects that are in those scans. But, the real question is, how useful these data will be in practice when compared to higher-level geographic insights such as the Google Maps API.
Though Niantic has been speaking about this for a long time, the company has been slow to expand it. It is because of the receding enthusiasm behind the phone-based augmented reality that has resulted from Apple’s unveiling of its ARKit. Hesch said that earlier, their main focus was on first-party applications and games. However, now, they are quite excited about extending their platform, which will attract even more users.