Niantic Talks About the Future of Augmented Reality

Niantic Labs has become a well-known name in augmented reality (AR) since it released Pokémon Go, the immensely popular AR smartphone title which kicked off a heightened interest in AR. Since then, Niantic Labs has not only delivered many updates to Pokémon Go but also announced a new AR title based on the Harry Potter franchise. The company has recently delivered a presentation on what the company believes will be the future of AR.

The presentation was led by Niantic Labs Senior Director of Engineering Niniana Wang and server engineering Christina Quan, where they discussed what Niantic are working on in terms of AR.

Among the subjects brought up during the presentation included the metrics for users of Pokémon Go, a measure that is likely to continue to be used when Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is released. One of these metrics was ‘distance walked’, indicating that Niantic is attempting to encourage exercise among it player base.

Also mentioned was the new social features that have been introduced to Pokémon Go, such as raids, friends lists, trading and gifts, which Niantic representatives said were added to promote real-world connections between players.

Wang and Quan did say that the company is aware of currently existing problems in Pokémon Go, pointing out that battery power consumption issues and how the user needs to constantly look at their smartphone, potentially taking players attention away from potentially dangerous situations, such as roads.

Niantic Labs currently uses a single-lens camera with AR occlusion technology to gauge depth for a scene. The Niantic AR technology does allow for multiplayer AR experiences, something which has been featured in its Codename: Neon demo, but it is unknown if this will be introduced into Pokémon Go or incorporated into Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Pokémon GO

No further information about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was revealed during the presentation. The video of the presentation can be viewed below. For future coverage on Niantic Labs and its work in AR, keep checking back with VRFocus.