Blog
February 4, 2020
Building What Communities Need: Storytelling by Design

At Niantic, we celebrate stories from all around the world. Our game locations tell the stories of art, history, culture and community, and we actively seek out programs and events that help uncover the stories behind community connection. In every corner of the world, within urban and rural communities alike, each and every one of us are connected together by the desire to find and be a part of community.

The desire to continually seek out real-world connections is what brought us to the community of West-Legon in the capital city of Accra, Ghana. It is there that we partnered with Dr. Monk, an international agency focused on designing solutions that move us all towards a more equal, regenerative, and compassionate future. Together with the local community, Dr. Monk and Niantic collected feedback about the impact of rapid growth that transformed a village with farmlands to a residential community and how such development has led to a lack of community. Inspired by their stories, Niantic and Dr. Monk wanted to find impactful ways to empower people to come together and encourage togetherness. How might we create unity in the community, while opening new worlds of knowledge and learning?

Social Impact
Social Impact
Social Impact

Initially, we wondered how we might create new learning spaces at libraries, but through a robust interview process, we learned that storytelling and community gathering spaces were even more valuable. Building off of this community-driven focus, the ideation group worked together to build a prototype library in West Legon called the DEKA Street Library, meaning “one” in the local language, Ewe.

During the construction, the local community joined forces with Niantic and Dr. Monk to achieve a design that encouraged learning through reading as well as an area where everyone can come together to share stories and talk about the history of the community. We also sought new ways to build stronger ties, creating a recycling bin out of plastic bottles to encourage locals to recycle as a way to help support their community. As a fun activity to tie these elements together and encourage exploration, we hosted a scavenger hunt that highlighted important places in the community.

Social Impact
Social Impact
Social Impact

Niantic was built upon the values of community engagement, positive social interaction and exploration. These values are deeply ingrained in the vision of the world that we have at Niantic and we are committed to finding ways to expand these values outside of our existing projects and products into communities all over the world. We’re grateful for the hard and thoughtful work done by the Dr. Monk team and value the community perspective and voice they brought to this project.

Are you working on community projects to foster these values and bolster community engagement? We’d love to hear about it! Send us a message at social-impact@nianticlabs.com.

Social Impact
Social Impact
Social Impact
Social Impact
Social Impact

—Leah Caudell-Feagan, Social Impact

January 22, 2020
Incredible Adventures Around the World Await in 2020

Here at Niantic, we believe that technology and real-world games can help bring communities together and real-world events have played a critical role in that. Even in the early days, these live real-world events have been central to Niantic’s goal to create interactive experiences that foster exploration and discovery as well as active and healthy lifestyles, and lasting friendships. Over the last 7 years, we’ve seen our large-scale live events bring hundreds of thousands of players from around the world together for a weekend of adventure.

We could not be more excited to share some of our initial plans for real-world events for Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress for the first half of 2020.

Pokémon GO
Trainers can look forward to an array of Pokémon GO events taking place throughout the first-half of the year and across the globe including:

  • Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung - February 6-9
  • Pokémon GO Safari Zone St. Louis - March 27-29
    • Tickets will go live starting January 24 at 8:00 AM CT
  • Pokémon GO Safari Zone Liverpool - April 17-19
    • Tickets will go on sale starting January 31 at 8:00 AM GMT
  • Pokémon GO Safari Zone Philadelphia - May 8-10
    • More information about tickets will be announced soon

To learn more about Pokémon GO and upcoming events in 2020, please visit www.PokémonGOLive.com/events.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Witches and Wizards can look forward to joining the second Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Fan Festival later this year. Additional details on the event will be announced soon.

To learn more about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite visit www.harrypotterwizardsunite.com/

Ingress
Agents around the world will be able to experience new events in Ingress taking place throughout the first-half of the year and across the globe including:

  • Perpetua Hexathlon - February 29
    • Asia-Pacific Region: Christchurch, New Zealand; Adelaide, Australia; Naha, Okinawa, Japan; Bengalaru, India; Chiang Mai, Thailand
    • Europe: Porto, Portugal; Milan, Italy; Lille, France; Bratislava, Slovakia; Ruse, Bulgaria
    • Americas: San Antonio, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, Florida; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Tijuana, Mexico
  • Lexicon Hexathlon - April 25
    • Asia-Pacific Region: Colombo, Sri Lanka; Taichung City, Taiwan; Bogor, Indonesia; Baguio City, Philippines; Songpa District, Seoul, Korea
    • Europe: Moscow, Russia; Edinburgh, Scotland; Pilsen, Czechia; Budapest, Hungary; Valencia, Spain
    • Americas: San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Victoria, BC, Canada; Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Requiem Anomaly Munich - May 9

To register for the Perpetua Hexathlon and find additional information on Ingress and future events please visit: www.ingress.com/events

Over the years, collaborating with city officials and local governments have been instrumental in hosting our large-scale real world events. We’re excited to also share that each of these real world events has a true positive impact on the locations we host them, bringing players from around the world together to explore and experience these unique cities. In 2019 alone, the three events hosted in Chicago, Montréal, and Dortmund combined for an estimated $249M in tourism revenue. Along with overall increased tourism for the cities, each event saw substantial attendance, significant distance walked and more.

You can find additional information on Niantic’s real world events by visiting: www.nianticlabs.com/events

Last year we launched #NianticLive2020, a way for governments and players to apply to be host cities for Niantic’s real-world events and are excited to share that of the new event locations we’ve announced for the first half of 2020, Liverpool, Philadelphia and St. Louis were hand-picked following their submissions. Each event selected as part of this submission campaign will carry a prominent #NianticLive2020 stamp (see the image below) on all visuals so you can show even more love for the city when you get there!

Niantic

Following the incredible submissions, we’re also thrilled to launch a new events website for local governments, Convention & Visitor Bureaus, and park officials to nominate parks for future years. Visit www.nianticlabs.com/niantic-live for more information on partnering with us to bring an exciting and unique experience to your city.

There’s much more to come in 2020 including many more events around the world, including in the Americas, the Asia Pacific region and Europe. We’re looking forward to another year of fun live experiences and celebrating our incredible communities throughout our real-world events in 2020!


-Michael Steranka, Senior Marketing Manager, Global Live Events

January 16, 2020
In Partnership with Leave No Trace

Guest post written by Dean Ronzoni. Dean is the Director of Corporate Development at Leave No Trace, a nonprofit dedicated to providing educational tools that encourage sustainable practices.

This year, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics embarked upon a partnership with Niantic to create a first-of-its-kind venture: programming Leave No Trace education into a real world game-based event. The Center is an environmental nonprofit working internationally to educate people on how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Together with Niantic, Leave No Trace is excited by the opportunity to reach such a vast community of people spending time outdoors and to make sure they are equipped to lessen their outdoor impacts.

Over the past 25 years, Leave No Trace has grown from its backcountry roots to provide educational tools to those venturing outdoors, whether they’re going on a week-long kayaking trip, a day-hike or a family picnic. As Leave No Trace adapts alongside ever-changing technology, it’s an exciting time to examine alternative strategies to complement the more traditional outdoor industry audience, to ultimately reach more people going outside.

Leave No Trace Partnership
Leave No Trace Partnership

To kick off the partnership, Leave No Trace advised Niantic on sustainability practices at its real world events, including Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago in June 2019. More than 60,000 Pokémon GO players would descend upon the city from all over the world in order to take part in the North American Pokémon GO Fest; but this year they would see some new additions. Across the park and throughout online messaging there was Leave No Trace information, customized for Pokémon GO Trainers exploring the outdoors to discover, catch, and power up their Pokémon.

Pokémon GO Fest Chicago included stations to refill water bottles and advice on ways to plan ahead and prepare to minimize waste brought into the city’s park. Our Leave No Trace team was on the ground to review the event first-hand, providing advice on the best sustainability practices for future events worldwide.

For many of us in the non-gaming world, the concept of capturing the mythical “Jirachi” or wandering through the “Winter Forest” might sound foreign. Yet during last summer’s Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, attendees collectively walked over 290 kilometers and caught 15 million Pokémon. The potential to reach people venturing outdoors in myriad, innovative ways is only expanding and our work with Pokémon GO is a great examination of how nature and technology can intersect.

- Dean Ronzoni, Director of Corporate Development at Leave No Trace