Niantic, the company that created Pokémon GO, has acquired WebAR development platform 8th Wall. This will help improve Niantic’s developer platform and help developers create their visions for AR. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
8th Wall was launched in 2016 and currently supports billions of devices across the world, including 5 billion mobile phones on iOS and Android as well as PCs and AR/VR headsets, according to Niantic. Multiple firms have utilized its platform to create AR activations, including Netflix, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, and others.
Niantic said in a blog post that the new AR technology will allow people to connect with others, discover new places, and play with friends.
“To make this happen, we’re fusing the physical and the digital by creating the world’s most precise 3D map of the planet. With our Lightship platform, launched globally in November last year, we’re offering all developers the world’s largest immersive canvas to bring their creations to life on a massive scale. 8th Wall greatly complements our vision for Lightship, and we plan to expand our developer platform tools with their proven WebAR technology.”
Erik Murphy-Chutorian, the founder and CEO of 8th Wall, said in a blog post that the company has joined Niantic in order to create more tools that will help build more engaging AR experiences. Murphy-Chutorian believes that such experiences will encourage people to explore new places.
“We started 8th Wall to build powerful computer vision technology that would enable developers to create AR applications that could run everywhere seamlessly,” Murphy-Chutorian said. “We did this with a complete set of tools to create WebAR. There is so much potential for web-based augmented reality and we will continue to unlock this through the lens of Niantic’s real-world AR universe. We are looking forward to working with Niantic to create the best planet-scale platform technologies to foster even more magical shared experiences.”
Niantic just raised $300 million from Coatue, which values the company at $9 billion. Niantic plans to use this money to build what it calls the “real-world metaverse.”
Niantic has had a lot of success with Pokémon GO. It made over $1 billion in 2020, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. However, not all of Niantic’s games have been successful. The company recently announced that it is shutting down Harry Potter: Wizards Unite after in-app consumer spending and global installs dropped 57% year over year.