Niantic has its own messaging option in mind for Pokémon Go players: a social AR app called Campfire. Move over, Discord. It will allow you to plan activities, explore new areas, and share material with other gamers. Consider it a hyper-local social network designed specifically for augmented reality—”the ‘homepage’ of the real-world Metaverse,” as Niantic puts it (as if that makes things any clearer). Campfire is now available in Ingress, the company’s first virtual reality game, and it will be available in all of the company’s games starting this summer.
Discord and other services have traditionally been used by Pokémon Go players to connect with one another. Given Nintendo and the Pokémon Company’s aversion to social networking, it’s likely that Niantic would have difficult to include social aspects directly into the game. Finally, releasing a separate app that can connect to all of the company’s experiences makes more sense.
Niantic also announced Lightship VPS (virtual positioning system), a new platform that would allow developers to understand the position and orientation of users more precisely. According to Niantic, they’ll be able to anchor AR content in situ with “centimeter-level” precision.
This will aid developers in creating better localization and persistence, two of the most critical aspects of any AR experience. Based on short video contributions from players, the business has created 3D maps in over 30,000 sites across six cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, London, and Tokyo) to power VPS.