Niantic formally presented floating beacon Last November, the AR platform dedicated to the development of augmented reality applications that sets itself the ambitious goal of becoming a reference point for the creation of the so-called Real World Metaverseor a vision of metaverses—which still struggles to find an exact definition—that allows the real and virtual worlds to merge neatly through augmented reality, without thus becoming a separate alternate reality.
It’s been just over 6 months since that moment – which is certainly a small amount of time when we’re talking about developing new app and service concepts – but Niantic is already bearing fruit from the seeds I planted in November Thanks to the work done by the many developers who welcomed the a challenge Launched by the Lightship platform.
To showcase the results of this work and announce the arrival of news of the Lightship, Niantic organized the first Lightship Summit 2022, an appointment for developers that aims to show what tools are available today and what can be done with the platform in the future. We attended the opening speech of the event (the summit ends today) and this is what we saw in the nearly an hour of presentation.
NIANTIC looks beyond the traditional games
So far, Niantic has been mainly known for its augmented reality-based titles, player positioning and very simple game mechanics, in order to make the experience as accessible as possible, but something is changing. Sure, Niantic’s most famous product is Pokémon GO – which has surpassed even the company’s previous success, Ingress – but All of the titles available today are from an older generation than Niantic has in store for the future.
We also saw something marking the introduction of Peridot, its first fully titled title Based on Lightship, which changes the formula compared to the past by constantly bringing augmented reality to the center of the gaming experience. If in Pokémon GO and Pikmin Bloom it’s reality, AR is only one of the optional mechanics found in the games – but basically you can ignore it completely – in Peridot, the gaming experience is very much focused on interacting with the real world. Just think about Much focus from Niantic on the potential of the Lightship that Peridot is able to enhancesuch as the fact that procedurally generated creatures are able to interact in a reliable way with the various materials that make up reality and so on.
These were the concepts also expressed during the opening speech of the summit, in particular the fact that all future experiments will strictly follow these guidelines. On the other hand, the purpose of Niantic is to present itself as a leader in the aforementioned Real World Metaverse, and thus ensure that The boundaries between the real and the virtual are becoming increasingly blurredUntil they are almost completely eliminated.
To do this, the new capabilities offered by Lightship, including the functionality, were introduced VPS (Visual Positioning System) that allows you to create permanent, shared AR experiences. Lightship VPS It allows players to assert their position in the game simply by targeting a known point of interest, such as a statue, building, or fountain.
This is because the VPS system is also associated with a new way of understanding the creation of a place map, starting from other than traditional criteria. In fact, during the keynote, Niantic highlighted how All maps to date are primarily designed to be used while navigating in a vehicle Or on the means, while the imagined thing decreases from its foundations because it is used on foot.
So Niantic started working on a new kind of map that took this into account and it did Thanks to the data collected through the Wayfarer post Present in its most famous applications. players Entry and Pokémon GO Provided over 17 million points of interest (Wayspots) that helped lay the foundations for creating a true 3D map of the world, where all items correspond 1:1 to their real location and even update over time thanks to continuous scans.
Lightship VPS, as mentioned earlier, also allows for Create shared experiences in this new 3D map of the worldAnd this is precisely one of its main strengths. It is, in fact, a tool that developers can exploit to develop augmented reality applications that are highly influenced by the local community; Think, for example, of being able to leave messages, short videos, stickers or anything else in a particular part of the world and that your content Permanently visible to all other users who find themselves passing by.
However, AR apps struggle with the fact that they are not always easily accessible and Lightship aims to solve this problem as well, thanks to the ability to create experiences entirely. It can be accessed from a web browser. This is done through Weibar Plus, a technology created by 8th Wall (a company recently acquired by Niantic) that allows you to use a simple web browser as a gateway to augmented reality, without requiring the user to install a specific app. To start trying WebAR PLUS Simply scan the QR code To be sent directly to the designated page.
In short, Lightship VPS aims to greatly simplify the creation and use of AR content, without necessarily being games. Currently, the VPS integrates about 30,000 global websites already registered and these locations are mainly grouped in 6 cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, London and Tokyo), but the goal during the year is to transfer them to at least 100 cities around the world.
NIANTIC CAMPFIRE: There is also room for the social aspect
So while on the one hand Niantic aims to simplify access to AR experiences, creating tools that can also be used through a simple web browser, on the other hand, it has also thought about how to make the existence of these experiences known to a wider audience.
The answer to this question is Niantic Campfire, an app that’s already in beta for some Ingress users and will expand to all of the company’s other apps over the summer, like Pokémon GO and more. Campfire is nothing more than a tool to refer to Strengthening communities It revolves around individual addresses, giving players the possibility of having an app where they can find information about all the real-time goings-on in the surrounding area, how to join one of the active communities and so on.
In the future it will also be Campfire It is the hub where you can access all the augmented reality experiences that exist where we areSo it will be a real radar that will be able to allow us to discover what can be experienced around us, without having to do any particular research. There is also the ability to interact via private and group messaging and media sharing, just like a real messaging app.
Niantic has hinted, though, that it doesn’t intend to turn Campfire into a full-fledged social network, so there won’t be an algorithmic feed of the activities carried out by our contacts, but only more general information directly related to AR experiences.
There are also blockchains and NFTs
In conclusion, a specific topic was also addressed Controversial By Niantic itself, that is blockchain and gods NFTs. The company does not yet have clear plans to incorporate these elements into its titles (Even if Paridot seems to have been meticulously built to turn every little creature into an NFT, because of its uniqueness), However He expressed interest in the topic and even showed the first demo For an app that is able to generate an NFT based on the trips taken by the user.
So we’re waiting to see what the developments will be on this topic, but we’re sure it won’t be long before Niantic can offer something capable of connecting blockchain with Augmented Reality and Real World Metaverse experiences.