Niantic raises $300m to expand AR’s role in metaverse - Niantic Lightship promo 3

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Niantic is ‘building a future where the real world is overlaid with digital creations’

Quick read

➨ Niantic has raised $300 million of funding from Coatue in a round that values the AR-focused company at $9 billion
➨ The company intends to use the funding to invest in current and new games, expand its recently announced Lightship AR developer kit, and ‘build out its vision for the real-world metaverse’
➨ With Lightship, anyone can use Niantic technology to develop AR experiences for Android and iOS devices

The story

Niantic has raised $300 million of funding from Coatue in a round that values the augmented reality (AR)-focused company at $9 billion.

The company, maker of popular AR-enabled games such as Pokémon GO, intends to use the funding to invest in current and new games, expand its recently announced Lightship AR developer kit, and “build out its vision for the real-world metaverse”.

John Hanke, Niantic’s founder and chief executive officer, succinctly explains this vision in his comments on the new funding: “We’re building a future where the real world is overlaid with digital creations, entertainment and information, making it more magical, fun and informative.”

“This will take a significant investment of talent, technology and imagination, and we’re thrilled that Coatue is on this journey with us.”

Niantic’s games utilise underlying technologies that it has been developing for a number of years.

These were made available to interested developers with the launch of Lightship. Now, anyone can use Niantic technology to develop AR experiences for Android and iOS devices.

To name just a few possibilities, AR experiences developed using Lightship can, like Niantic’s own games, utilise real-time 3D mesh maps for understanding the topography and surfaces around the user, as well as occlusion to make virtual objects appear in the right depth order relative to real-world objects.

Watch a demo of the mapping meshing available on Lightship below.

Early Lightship adopters include Coachella, Historic Royal Palaces, Lifull, the PGA of America, Science Museum Group, Shueisha, SoftBank, the artist JR and Superblue, TRIPP, Universal Pictures, and Warner Music Group.

Niantic hopes to expand use of Lightship and develop an ecosystem where AR experiences that deliver its own high level of immersion are simple and easy to create, all based on existing computing platforms rather than expensive and uncomfortable virtual reality headsets, like Meta.

Coatue, a global technology-focused investment manager, clearly believes this vision for a “real-world metaverse” is possible. General partner Matt Mazzeo says: “Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing.”

“We are excited to partner with Niantic because we see this infrastructure supporting a metaverse for the real world and helping to power the next evolution of the internet.”

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Images: Niantic

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