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Niantic builds an AR metaverse tied to the real world

Courtesy of Niantic

Niantic builds an AR metaverse tied to the real world


Future. Niantic is debuting two new projects cementing its quest to be the glue for an AR metaverse. The AR software connects digital objects to physical landmarks and also a social network for every app that uses its Lightship developer kit. With how successful Niantic’s Pokémon Go has been with casual gamers, Niantic may be ahead of the curve in building an interconnected reality on top of our own that people actually want to use.

Digital facade
Pokémon Go-creator Niantic is laying the foundation for an AR world.

  • The Verge reports that the company is rolling out a location-mapping software called the Visual Positioning System (VPS).
  • It allows developers to make AR experiences “grounded to a physical location” instead of” floating aimlessly through a phone’s camera view.”

VPS was created by using millions of crowdsourced phone-camera scans. Niantic used those photos to program 20,000 “VPS-activated” locations worldwide.

Gather ‘round the Campfire
VPS is now available as part of Niantic’s Lightship AR Development Kit, which also lets multiple devices connect to shared AR experiences. CEO John Hanke has said that Lightship is Niantic’s foundation for a “real-world metaverse.” It’s taking that ambition another step further by also releasing an app called Campfire.

  • Campfire acts as a location-based social network for all of its games and apps… and all those that use Lightship.
  • Users can find friends on their map, organize meet-ups, and chat through the app during AR experiences.
  • Also, it acts as the de-facto discovery platform for all the apps that use Lightship.

Hanke told The Verge that their goal is to “create tools for people that want to build apps they can run cross-platform and that they own and control.” With Campfire, users can now dip in and out of all those apps from one dedicated portal.

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