Blog
August 15, 2018
Introducing the Niantic Kids Parent Portal

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The safety and privacy of all of our players’ information is very important to us here at Niantic. Today, we’re introducing a new way for parents to manage their children’s experiences across our games with the Niantic Kids Parent Portal. We’ll be first introducing the Niantic Kids Parent Portal in Pokémon GO in the next update which will be launching soon.

The Niantic Kids Parent Portal is designed for parents to keep their children’s personal information secure whenever their kids access Pokémon GO, or our future games. The new portal will give parents the tools to review and approve their children’s permissions before playing, as well as options to control the personal information shared in Niantic games.

Our team is working with kid-safe technology company SuperAwesome to develop and maintain the Niantic Kids Parent Portal. SuperAwesome’s Kids Web Services enables safe, digital engagement for children, and is both kidSAFE Seal and ESRB Privacy Certified. The Niantic Kids Parent Portal is built specifically to ensure digital privacy for children following COPPA, GDPR-K and guidelines in many countries around the world.

In addition to the Niantic Kids Parent Portal, parents currently using the Pokémon Trainer Club can continue to use their accounts to connect and supervise their child’s access to Pokémon GO.

We’re looking forward to continuing to provide parents and their children with fun, unique, and safe ways to create adventures together, right in their own neighborhoods and towns.


—Niniane Wang, Senior Director Of Engineering at Niantic

July 26, 2018
How Games Can Inspire Learning

When we saw the impact of the launch of Ingress in 2012, we learned that mobile AR games can inspire positive impact when given the right motivation. When people go outside to play a game, they become more active, explore more of their cities, and oftentimes have more opportunities to interact socially with others - friends and strangers alike. And once people are outside, both engaging with the community and moving around, amazing things start to happen - they lose weight, make new friends, and find that outdoor gameplay is a useful tool in battling things like physical disabilities or mental health issues.

In 2017, we partnered with Big Heritage, a UK-based nonprofit seeking to increase the experiences of heritage through fun activities and programs, to host a huge event on July 16 that brought more than 17,000 Pokémon GO fans and many more community members to the town of Chester for a day of exploration and learning. We learned a lot from the event, furthering our understanding of how real world games like Pokémon GO and Ingress can inspire discovery and exploration.

Over the last 6 months, Big Heritage partnered with us to introduce a new educational program to classrooms in the UK that used Pokémon GO to teach students about history and orienteering skills, utilizing compasses, maps, and grid references in the game. Students aged 7 to 9 years old, from 62 different classes across 30 schools, participated in these learning exercises and were able to experience heritage by looking at maps of their local communities, ranging from small country villages to urban areas. By looking at maps from around the 1880s through present day, they were able to see how their area had developed over time. Big Heritage worked to ensure that all types of learners were included, adjusting the educational program throughout the process.

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*engagement was measured by surveying the teachers post-program

In the United States, we partnered with Tech in the Tenderloin, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on giving youth living in the most challenging neighborhoods more exposure to technology. We spent time showing kids aged 6 to 18 how mobile games are built, having them participate in activities that included color sheets, mobile game testing, and, of course, walking around the venue to understand how an AR game works. Our team was excited to see so many eager faces, and by the day’s end we made connections with kids and teachers that deepened our involvement in the community.

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Education and learning is an important piece of our social impact work, with programs like Big Heritage and Tech in the Tenderloin demonstrating just how impactful games and AR technology can be. We’re looking forward to continuing our commitment to education, not only in places like the US and the UK, but around the world. If you’re using AR or one of our games to help promote education, write to us at social-impact@nianticlabs.com and tell us what you’re working on!


—Yennie Solheim Fuller, Social Impact

July 17, 2018
Welcoming Seismic Games to Niantic: Continuing to Shake Up How Games Are Made and Played

Niantic

Today we are announcing the acquisition of Seismic Games, and want to extend a warm welcome to their talented team.

The Seismic Games studio is comprised of industry veterans hailing from EA/Pandemic and Activision. The founders have led development efforts on blockbuster games such as the original Star Wars: Battlefront, and the Seismic team currently works with major partners like Marvel, FoxNext, Sony Television, Alcon Interactive, and others, on cutting edge mobile and VR games like Marvel: Strikeforce & Blade Runner: Revelations. Seismic will continue to see through its existing slate of titles in development as it transitions into building all new AR experiences with Niantic.

We recently gave a peek under the hood of the Niantic Real World Platform, and we see the addition of Seismic Games as a significant accelerant for realizing our vision of an operating system that bridges the digital and the physical worlds.

At Niantic, we’re committed to our mission of motivating people to exercise, be social, and discover new places. We’re confident that Seismic Games will help us deliver on that mission — faster, and better.


—jh