Niantic acquires, aiming to create ‘planet-scale’ AR


Niantic, the company responsible for the architecture for several popular AR games, including Pokémon Go and Harry Potter picked up in what some could view as a direct challenge to Apple’s recent AI investments. is best known for creating 3D meshes of the world in which AR content can be responsive to their environments and persist in a more realistic way. In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Niantic CEO John Hanke emphasized the potential of bringing Niantic and together.

“Together we’re building a dynamic, 3D map of the world so we can enable new kinds of planet-scale AR experiences.”

One of the ways the tech from might be used is in the popular location-based AR games. With the meshing ability, the game could theoretically map areas that were not already covered by the game.

A demonstration of the meshing ability of

Matt Miesnieks, CEO of also shared his thoughts on the acquisition in a blog post.’s mission was to set out to build a “3D map of the world” to assist in AR development, says Miesnieks.

“Now joining Niantic will provide us more reach, strengthen our resources, and bring together some of the best minds in both AR software development and research. The combination of our teams is a major step for the AR industry as we get even closer toward building the 3D map of the world.”

“Our team will continue to be laser focused on building the 3D map of the world and finding the best way to bring those tools to the developer community so that everyone can benefit from the potential of AR.”

The announcement comes with notice that will be sunsetting their developer tools in the next 30 days so that they can begin to help developers build realistic AR applications through the Niantic Real World Platform. Miesnieks expressed gratitude for all of the developers they have worked with to get to this point.

“We want to send a sincere thank you to all the early developers who dove into our SDK, gave feedback, posted demo videos and even launched apps — it was truly incredible to see all of your great work and watch our technology come to life.”


About Author

Carla Lauter

Carla Lauter is the editor of and the SPAR 3D Newsletter. Before joining SPAR 3D, Carla spent 10 years on NASA and National Science Foundation funded projects focusing on Earth science and communication. She has worked on web-based outreach and online interactives for NASA Earth Science, including products for satellite missions measuring sea level, salinity and hyperspectral ocean color.


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