Our first 3D map launches
In 2001, a small team of geospatially-obsessed computer scientists, gamers, cartographers, and AI researchers created Keyhole. Originally conceived as a video game, Keyhole was a first-of-its-kind product that let users zoom into interactive 3D maps of the planet. Many people from the original Keyhole team still work with us at Niantic today.
From Keyhole to Google Earth
Three years later, Keyhole was acquired by Google and renamed Google Earth.
Introducing Google Maps, Street View, and more
At Google, some of our team continued its focus on the exploration and 3D modeling of hundreds of cities, countries, and planets. We introduced Google Maps, Street View, SketchUp, and Panoramio, among other products.
Niantic Labs is created
The idea: create a new kind of gameplay using mobile devices and our understanding of maps. The goal: make the world more magical through exploration, exercise, and real-world social interaction. The result: Niantic Labs begins as a startup within Google.
Meet our first app: Field Trip
In 2012, we released Field Trip, a location-based mobile app that guided users to the unique and hidden sites around them. Field Trip first launched on mobile devices and eventually appeared on wearables and augmented reality hardware.
Ingress changes the game
Later we introduced Ingress, a location-based AR mobile game that transformed the real world into a global game of mystery, intrigue, and competition. It was the first of its kind.
Niantic sets out on our own
In 2015, we spun out of Alphabet Inc. as an independent private company. With $35 million in Series-A funding from The Pokémon Company Group, Google, and Nintendo, we announced the development of Pokémon GO in collaboration with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo.
Pokémon GO enters the world
Pokémon GO became a global phenomenon overnight. To date, it’s the most popular — and profitable — AR app of all time.
Pokémon GO keeps growing
By 2017, the app was downloaded over 650 million times, and Trainers collectively covered 15.8 billion kilometers — roughly the distance from Earth past the edge of the solar system.
Connecting to communities
In an effort to continue to support the blossoming real-world communities, we create several partnerships with nonprofits around the world. Together, we aim to encourage and support community engagement through AR experiences in local communities.
Our first Pokémon GO live events
Drawing on our experience hosting thousands of real-world events for Ingress, we launched some of the first live events for Pokémon GO. Millions of players came together in person in Japan, Korea, the Americas, and Europe.
Ingress returns as Ingress Prime
In 2018, we launched Ingress Prime, a reboot of our debut real-world game Ingress. In addition to completely reimagining the user interface and sound design, Ingress Prime integrated state-of-the-art AR tech that made it even more immersive.
Revealing the magic of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
In collaboration with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and WB Games, we launched Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The game leveraged the full stack of Niantic Lightship and pioneered all-new technology and gameplay mechanics — all while bridging the paper-thin line between the real world and wizarding world.
Introducing Niantic Wayfarer
We rolled out Niantic Wayfarer, a tool that helps people shape future adventures. With Niantic Wayfarer, eligible players can add and review nominations of local points-of-interest (like museums, art installations, and historical markers) so they can be added to Niantic products (like Portals, PokéStops, and Gyms).
Niantic Research presents on 3D mapping
At the 2020 European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV 2020) — the top international conference on the topic — our research team presented three papers and a technical report on 3D mapping. The research addressed questions about a player’s location, the 3D scene in front of them, and how everything fits into the larger 3D map of the digital-yet-real world around them.
Niantic turns 5!
We celebrated our fifth birthday with 600 more employees, four more offices, three more games, and hundreds of millions more players than when we started. Here’s to the next five years!
Pikmin Bloom gets growing
In 2021, we launched Pikmin Bloom, developed together with Nintendo. The game brings joy to your daily journeys through tiny, plant-like creatures that grow, bloom, and follow you when you move.
Introducing the Lightship Platform
We opened up the platform that powers our AR experiences to the world. The first version of Lightship gave developers the tools to understand, map, and share the world around them, so they could focus on creating amazing AR experiences.
Launching Niantic Ventures
Alongside the release of Lightship, we announced Niantic Ventures, a $20 million fund that invests in — and partners with — companies building the future of AR.
Bringing players together with Community Days
We launched our inaugural Niantic Community Day in March. These real-world events bring players together in person and feature all of our games.
Welcoming 8th Wall
We acquired 8th Wall, the WebAR development platform. 8th Wall pioneered web-based augmented reality (WebAR), enabling developers to create AR experiences that work on mobile devices but don’t require an app. The acquisition gave us one of the most complete sets of AR tools to build the real-world metaverse.