Blog
February 13, 2019
Making an Impact on Designs of the Future at SIGGRAPH ASIA

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The backbone of Niantic’s compelling technology is our team of dedicated designers and animators. Executing an immersive real-world experience requires no shortage of creativity, and we support Niantics who are committed to fostering the minds of the future and furthering the design industry.

Niantic designer Mako Ueda has played an integral role in helping Niantic develop and maintain the visual style for both Pokémon GO and Ingress. In her spare time, she contributes as a sub-committee member of SIGGRAPH, which focuses on the innovation and application of computer graphics and interactive design techniques. Recently, at SIGGRAPH Asia, Mako assisted the student volunteers, providing guidance and even designing the uniforms they wore throughout the weekend. She also led an initiative to bring a rich and engaging Niantic presence to the event.

During the event, which was held from December 4 to December 7, 2018, Mako spent time speaking to eager designers–both student and professional–who attended the event, and staged a special in-game appearance of Pikachu and Eevee in Pokémon GO. There was also plenty of Niantic-related swag which Mako handed out to student volunteers.

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“More than 250 talented students worldwide participated in this international, week-long program to enrich their education and make meaningful recruiting connections,” Mako said. “I was so proud to represent Niantic at a design and technology conference with such a global reputation”

Education is a key tenant of our work at Niantic, and we see ongoing learning for students of all backgrounds as an important part of our work. Exposure to the world of design and how it integrates into technology helps inspire students with the knowledge that they can make an impact across a variety of spaces and categories, expanding the space in which citizens have an impact on the world. The SIGGRAPH Asia event provided students with the opportunity to learn more about the roles that exist in digital design and animation.

“I think continued investment in these programs is necessary for our company, especially because it positions us as leaders in supporting designers of the future who will be at the forefront of modern animation practices,” Mako said. “I’m looking forward to helping Niantic make an even bigger impact on this event next year.”

To learn more about Niantic, including job opportunities in Engineering and Design, take a look at our open roles.


—The Niantic team

February 11, 2019
Social Impact: Disaster Relief in Porto Alegre, Brazil

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As a member of the Niantic Social Impact team, I find that there is something truly special about seeing thousands of players gather together to explore a new area and engage with one another. Traveling to Brazil for the first Pokémon GO Safari Zone in Latin America was a thrilling experience for exactly that reason: I had the opportunity to meet Trainers who had journeyed halfway across the world as well as local Brazilian residents who have been petitioning for an event for years. I even met a group of Trainers who had taken their first plane ride to come to Porto Alegre, and others who had ridden hours on an overnight bus to experience this event. No matter where we came from, we were all there to experience the power of being together, playing Pokémon GO and making new friends in the sunshine of the Guaíba Riverbank.

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On January 25, news of the tragedy in Minas Gerais broke and dominated the airwaves in the country. A dam broke suddenly in the municipality of Brumadinho, and we were all saddened by the humanitarian crisis. As we discussed the disaster, both among ourselves and with Trainers at the event, we immediately began to think of a way to help those affected by the disaster. While various ideas arose, the one that really fit the spirit of the Safari Zone weekend was to leverage the generosity of everyone attending to come together as a community and give what we could.

Working together with the Porto Alegre City Hall, we quickly put together a plan to collect donations of nonperishable items for community members impacted by the disaster. While we know and have seen firsthand how much our player community seeks to make positive impact, we were overwhelmed by the line full of smiling people that formed on Sunday morning, holding grocery bags full of water bottles, rice, beans, and so much more. The donations continued to pour in throughout the day both in the event space and at locations around the city. By the end of the day we, as a community, had collected:

  • 344 gallons of water
  • 2,885 pounds of food
  • 1,375 units of personal hygiene items
  • 70 pounds of pet food
  • 103 units of cleaning items
  • 2,500 units of clothing items

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To me, this is the purest proof of the strength of our community and our desire to make an impact where it counts. It wouldn’t have been possible without collaboration from the local government, our amazing event staff, and most importantly, our phenomenal Trainers. Our work together goes well beyond games. We are building communities, connecting people, and changing lives. Nothing makes that more clear than the power of our live events, and this Safari Zone in Porto Alegre was a true testament to what we can accomplish together.

Thank you for making a difference.


—Leah Caudell-Feagan, Social Impact

February 7, 2019
From #HolaNiantic To #VamosNianticLATAM

It was a privilege to celebrate the first Pokémon GO event in Latin America at the Safari Zone in Porto Alegre, Brazil. While all events are special to us here at Niantic, this one will go down as one of the most memorable event experiences I’ve had to date (and I’ve had my fair share!), especially given the journey we took to get there.

With over 33 countries, 650 million very diverse and fun people, and multiple cultures and languages, Latin America is a hugely important region for us at Niantic. We were moved by the #HolaNiantic social media campaign that began early last year, and rallied our various teams at Niantic in an attempt to improve how we support our diverse and growing Latin American communities.

At first, we started by meeting Trainers in parks all throughout the region, surprising them with posters and other goodies during Pokémon GO Community Days. We loved visiting with Trainers in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ciudad de México, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Monterrey, and more than 15 additional cities throughout Latin America, but we knew we wanted to do even more to further delight those excited groups. It was clear, from the strong reactions that we received both in person and on social media, that the Latin American community was craving an even bigger event.

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It was around this time that we were privileged to be invited by the Mayor of Port Alegre, Brazil to discuss bringing an event to his city, and we knew instantly that this was an ideal match. After months of work by the city of Porto Alegre and many departments here at Niantic, we were able to pull off this unforgettable experience. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read through the recap recently posted to the Pokémon GO blog for even more details and some spectacular photos.

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This has been an amazing journey, and none of it would have been possible without Trainers all throughout Latin America sharing their passion with us. Thank you, Trainers, for taking action and sharing your constructive ideas (even if critical, at times) with us. We still have a long way to go and many more adventures with to come!

Additionally, I’d like to thank the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil and their mayor, Nelson Marchezan Jr., for doing everything they could to help make this a successful event. At Niantic, we strive to bring people together to explore the world around them, and we truly appreciate you helping make this a reality for your residents and those who visited your beautiful city.

#VamosNianticLATAM


—Omar Téllez, VP of Growth