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Niantic raises $300M at $9B valuation as it guns for the real-world metaverse

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Pokémon Go maker Niantic has raised $30o million from investor Coatue at a $9 billion valuation as it aims to build the real-world metaverse.

While Facebook/Meta is trying to build the metaverse on a foundation of virtual reality, Niantic has seen its success on location-based gaming with Pokémon Go. And that has made it partial to creating extensions of that game for its version of the metaverse. Techcrunch reported the news.

In other words, San Francisco-based Niantic believes the metaverse can be built with AR images overlaid on the real world. Hanke believes that the VR-based visions of the metaverse, like in Ready Player One, are more like a dystopian nightmare. In a speech at Augmented World Expo, Hanke criticized the dystopias.

“In those fictional versions of the future, the world has become such a mess that people have to escape it into some sort of virtual reality where people live, work, and play,” says Hanke. “I would ask all of you: is that the future you imagine? Is that what you want for you? For your children? That’s not the future we believe will happen at Niantic.”


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Above: John Hanke is CEO and founder of Niantic.

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Image Credit: Niantic

Niantic wants to develop technology that overlays a virtual world on top of the real world, just as it does layering cute animated Pokémon creatures in the real world.

Niantic recently unveiled its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK), which makes it easy to make AR games publicly available for free to anyone to develop games for.

Niantic recently shut down its Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game, but it also recently launched Pikmin Bloom, designed to be played while walking around with a smartphone.

Sensor Tower reported that Pokémon Go earned more than $1 billion in revenue in 2020.


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