Blog
March 31, 2020
Welcoming 3D Spatial Mapping Leader 6D.ai to Niantic: Accelerating Real-World AR Innovation

Niantic

Today, we are announcing the acquisition of 6D.ai and welcoming members of the talented team to Niantic. Together, we’re building a dynamic, 3D map of the world so we can enable new kinds of planet-scale AR experiences. This means we're even closer to an AR platform that will unlock the ability for any developer to make content for current and future AR hardware.

From the beginning, we set out to infuse our daily lives and routines with a bit of fun and adventure by building an augmented world that parallels the physical. This bold pursuit requires significant advancements in AR technology that can only be made possible with an accurate and constantly updated 3D map of the real world. Now, we’ll be able to leverage 6D.ai’s deep expertise and significant breakthroughs in AR research and engineering to further our ongoing work in support of our mission.

Niantic

Sample of a 6D.ai Crowdsourced Mesh Using a Smartphone Camera

Founded in 2017, 6D.ai was spun out from Oxford University’s Active Vision Lab, building computer vision-based technologies and developer tools that solve fundamental AR problems, such as 3D reconstruction and AR persistence. These and many other AR features are important parts of the Niantic experience, in service of our player and developer communities, both now and those who we’ll work with in the future. For the people who play our games today, it means more beloved AR experiences to come, and for our developers, an innovative platform to bring their AR visions to life.

We've just scratched the surface of the impact that AR can have on our connection to the people and places around us. Imagine everyone, at the same time, being able to experience Pokémon habitats in the real world or watch dragons fly through the sky and land on buildings in real-time. Imagine our favorite characters taking us on a walking tour of hidden city gems, or friends leaving personal notes for others to find later.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of experiences that large-scale AR mapping can enable. We're looking forward to working with the 6D.ai team as we continue charting our course forward.

For 6D.ai’s shared perspective on the news, please see the blog post from 6D.ai CEO Matt Miesnieks.

-jh

March 30, 2020
Embracing real-world gaming from home

Dear Niantic community,

We are reaching out to extend our best wishes for your wellness at this time of unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased physical and mental strain can have a lasting impact on people, and we're here for you.

But the world has changed, so what can we do?

We created Niantic with a mission to help people get outside, exercise, and explore the world, with the ultimate goal of helping people connect with others. Today we support a global community of hundreds of millions of people who look to our games for regular entertainment and an opportunity to get outside and connect with friends.

We have always believed that our games can include elements of indoor play that complement the outdoor, exercise and explore DNA of what we build. Now is the time for us to prioritize this work, with the key challenge of making playing indoors as exciting and innovative as our outdoor gameplay.

We are adding to our product roadmap so we can enable more ways to play inside and around the home in the coming days and weeks, when the world needs it most.

While it’s impossible to predict when and how the situation with COVID-19 will evolve globally, we’re going to make the following changes to our games and live events:

  • Exercise: you can track your steps indoor with Adventure Sync so activities like cleaning your house and running on a treadmill count toward game achievements. We’re going to make improvements to Adventure Sync so it works even better with indoor movement and activities.
  • Social: we’re enhancing our in-game virtual social features to enable players to stay in touch when they can’t meet in real life. You’ll soon be able to team up with friends and take on Raid Battles together in Pokémon GO from the comfort of home.
  • Explore: we’re also looking into how we can help players virtually visit and share memories about their favorite real-world places, until they can once again visit them in person.
  • Live Events: we're re-imagining what it means to participate in a Niantic live event this summer, and putting our creative energy towards bringing the excitement directly to your home. That means we're working on an entirely new way to enjoy Pokémon GO Fest. More details coming soon!

As our community knows, we’ve already made a number of changes to adapt to the current environment where group play is no longer possible and outdoor activity may be restricted.

We just launched a new form of gameplay in Pokémon GO called GO Battle League that you can play from anywhere in the world, including at home. We reduced the walking requirements for GO Battle League from 3 km to zero and introduced deeply discounted Incense and Poké Balls so people can catch Pokémon without traveling far. Gifts have more useful content and we increased storage so you can send and receive more gifts.

For Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, we’ve increased the amount of content that’s near you on the map so players should see Spell Energy, more iconic Harry Potter content, and rare potions ingredients that help you make progress. We’ve made potion tuning adjustments so players can have Foundables spawn directly at their house. Among other changes, gifts have also been adjusted to include more helpful resources and we increased the amount of gifts that players can open each day.

Ingress Portals are now tuned to encourage at-home play and we’ve reduced the need to interact with multiple Portals. We've increased the number of Portal hacks before burnout, reduced cooldown period for Portals, and enabled the deployment of two L7 and L8 Resonators per Portal. In addition, Portal recharge has been added as a new means for daily credit towards the Sojourner Medal.

In areas where it is permitted by local authorities, outdoor walks, practiced with proper social distancing, will continue to be a great way to contribute to physical and mental well being and you'll still be able to play our games while you do that. The changes we are making offer an alternative when that’s not possible.

We look forward to the day when we can return to the familiar places we dream about and once again safely play together with family and friends. When the world is ready for that, we’ll be ready too.

-jh

March 18, 2020
Pokémon GO Safari Zone Update - Liverpool and Philadelphia

Niantic

Trainers,

We have made the difficult decision to postpone Pokémon GO Safari Zone events in St. Louis, MO, USA; Liverpool, UK; and Philadelphia, PA, USA. We are looking into alternate dates and will provide an update as soon as possible. Please see below for more information on each event.

Safari Zone St. Louis

Details for the Safari Zone St. Louis postponement were previously announced here.

We will refund the amount paid by Trainers if they request a refund of their tickets via in-app support. Deadline to request a refund is March 25, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. If you do not request a refund, you will be able to use your existing ticket for the rescheduled Safari Zone.

As an added bonus for those who retain their tickets, we will activate the Safari Zone Pokémon encounters and Special Research globally during the original scheduled event hours (in your local time zone) so that you can still enjoy the event from wherever you are in the world. Only ticket holders will be able to experience this bonus event.

No action is required to keep your ticket and participate in the global gameplay. We will email ticket order purchasers with the updated event information and next steps.

Safari Zone Liverpool

We will refund the amount paid by Trainers if they request a refund of their tickets via in-app support. Deadline to request a refund is April 15, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. If you do not request a refund, you will be able to use your existing ticket for the rescheduled Safari Zone.

As an added bonus for those who retain their tickets, we will activate the Safari Zone Pokémon encounters and Special Research globally during the original scheduled event hours (in your local time zone) so that you can still enjoy the event from wherever you are in the world. Only ticket holders will be able to experience this bonus event.

If you purchased a City Explorer Pass add-on, the increased Incense and Lure Module duration, as well as the reduced Egg Hatch Distance, will be activated globally during the original event weekend, in your local time. The City Explorer Pass will work as originally planned with Explorer Raids and Field Research tasks—as well as the increased Incense and Lure Module duration, and reduced Egg Hatch Distance—during the rescheduled Safari Zone event. For more information on the City Explorer Pass, please visit the Niantic Help Center.

No action is required to keep your ticket and participate in the global gameplay. We will email ticket order purchasers with the updated event information and next steps.

Safari Zone Philadelphia

We will refund the amount paid by Trainers if they request a refund of their tickets via in-app support. Deadline to request a refund is May 6, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. If you do not request a refund, you will be able to use your existing ticket for the rescheduled Safari Zone.

As an added bonus for those who retain their tickets, we will activate the Safari Zone Pokémon encounters and Special Research globally during the original scheduled event hours (in your local time zone) so that you can still enjoy the event from wherever you are in the world. Only ticket holders will be able to experience this bonus event.

If you purchased a City Explorer Pass add-on, the increased Incense and Lure Module duration, as well as the reduced Egg Hatch Distance, will be activated globally during the original event weekend, in your local time. The City Explorer Pass will work as originally planned with Explorer Raids and Field Research tasks—as well as the increased Incense and Lure Module duration, and reduced Egg Hatch Distance—during the rescheduled Safari Zone event. For more information on the City Explorer Pass, please visit the Niantic Help Center.

No action is required to keep your ticket and participate in the global gameplay. We will email ticket order purchasers with the updated event information and next steps.

Sincerely,

The Niantic Live Events Team