Previously part of Google until the company restructured into Alphabet, Niantic Labs is responsible for the rather popular location-based game Ingress, and the upcoming Pokemon GO game in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. Things seem to be going good for Niantic Labs as they have quietly opened up a new studio over in Japan.
Of course the $30 million in funding they recently received from Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, and Google probably helped with that expansion. This new studio, located in Tokyo, was opened to help Niantic Labs push on with the development of Pokémon Go, as well as create a new platform that uses AR and mapping tech. Unfortunately that is about all we know right now about this new platform they are working on.
Generally speaking, Japanese gaming companies – I mean Nintendo in this specific case – love going vertical by becoming platforms if any opportunity to do so opens up. So, it might very well be that Pokémon is not the only Nintendo mobile game that will make use of AR and GPS going forward. – Dr. Serkan Toto on Niantic’s expansion.
Pokemon GO Plus
Pokemon GO is an upcoming free-to-play location-based game where players will be looking to go out into the real world to catch, trade, or battle their Pokémon. In addition to the game, there will be a Bluetooth accessory available called Pokémon GO Plus. The Plus, which is a teardrop shaped Pokéball (can be worn as a wirstband as well), can do things like alert players by vibrating and lighting up when a Pokémon is nearby. It isn’t required to play the game though.
Pokemon GO is still slated for release onto mobile in early 2016.
Website Referenced: Gamasutra