In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which set out to end extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Earlier this year, we announced a set of Pokémon GO game locations in collaboration with Global Goals during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Each of these 17 PokéStops represented the individual Global Goals, shedding light on the causes that they stand for and on our mission to foster discovery around the world.
Soon, we’ll be adding an all-new avatar item to your wardrobe–the Global Goals shirt. This free shirt gives you and the millions of Trainers around the world the opportunity to stand with us as we look to show our support for initiatives that make the world a better place like the Global Goals.
We hope everyone will join us in having their avatar wear the Global Goals shirt proudly to show their support and spread awareness for these critically important Goals.
Here at Niantic we are incredibly excited about the transformative power of augmented reality. Why? To populate the world with cute and cuddly 3D characters? Well, yeah, we think that’s a cool idea. But something even bigger than that is at stake—whether we build technology that serves us or increasingly become servants to technology. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are at two ends of the spectrum of how we are going to relate to technology in the future. Not to overstate the case, but there is a part of me that recoils at ‘The Matrix’-like aspect of VR as opposed to AR—a vision of humans as peripherals plugged into some vast digital matrix, emerging only to ingest a quick glass of Soylent before we dive back in.
AR offers the potential to enhance our basic functions as human beings as we lead our lives in the physical world. Yes, AR can transform the mundane into something more colorful and fun and can provide a useful nudge to go off and see new places and do new things. It can also enhance the everyday—walking through a complicated subway terminal (imagine a dotted line map leading the way), shopping (imagine a glance at an item showing you an image of you wearing the item with information about where it was made and its ecological impact), travel (picture heads-up translation and guides to history and art as you stroll through an historic site), and so much more. The real win will be lifting our heads from our phones without needing to completely cut the cord to the rich troves of online information that can enhance our lives in a million different ways.
So… did we just see the future today? Yes and no. AR on phones is a very important step on the path to full AR. But it’s a step that should be understood as one with limitations in its current form factor and level of development. Given the number of acronyms out there and the general confusion over this new technology, it’s probably worthwhile to define what we (at Niantic) mean by ‘augmented reality.’ Many will interpret AR to mean merely the visual effect that you experience with a device where a digital object or annotation is overlaid on the camera view on the screen.
But that’s really missing the point, in our opinion. What AR really means is connecting digital information, objects and experiences with the physical world in situ as you experience them. It’s the part about connecting information to the world that’s important. The way that information gets to you is secondary. What I mean is… AR can be something like we see in the movie ‘Her.’ It could be a whisper in your ear telling you the path to walk or historical facts about the building in front of you. We actually experimented with this type of AR with Field Trip, our first app at Niantic. AR can also be information presented on your phone that is connected to something near you even if it’s not using a fancy 3D AR camera view. Niantic’s first AR game ‘Ingress’ doesn’t have an AR camera view in it and yet millions of players around the world experience a shared alternate reality where mysterious ‘XM’ energy flows from statues, fountains and historical sites around the world and a global competition between the ‘Enlightened’ and the ‘Resistance’ emerged (we’ll be launching a new version of Ingress later this year).
The point is that the AR camera view is a cool step forward, but it’s only part of what is going to make AR so important and powerful. Mastering digital overlays on phones today utilizes exactly the same technology stack that we will need to power the AR glasses of the future. It’s an important stepping stone and that’s why Niantic is committed to fully exploiting that technology on today’s devices. When used correctly, it can be a powerful way to enhance your experience with the physical world. But apps that merely place a digital object on your kitchen table don’t really qualify as ‘AR’ in our view. Even when used out in the world in the ‘right way,’ AR suffers from a challenging form factor when accessed via a phone. Holding a phone in front of you to align an AR view is, honestly, a little awkward. Based on experiences with apps that are mostly focused on this visual aspect of AR, some will conclude that AR is a gimmick that lacks real utility. That’s a bummer, because it really is the first step to something that is going to transform the world as we know it.
Glasses are coming. They are hard and it will take a while but we will get them and once we do, we won’t go back. Google’s Glass provided a glimpse, however flawed, of what that future might look like. Were there shortcomings? Many. It’s worth noting though that beyond issues with limited functionality and performance some of the most pointed criticisms raised about Glass weren’t so much about the device itself but rather the societal implications of pervasive cameras and of people constantly immersed in a screen. Those are challenges we already have with today’s phones and ones that we’ll need to address for future AR devices. But in our view the ultimate utility of being connected to all of the information about the world—while you are interacting with the world—will prevail.
When that happens, we will live in a world where everything we see can be interactive. Imagine buildings, offices, homes, cities and transportation with live, dynamic interfaces customized to you and what you want to do. The billions of dollars a year that we spend on physical signs, directories, schedules, and all of the other ‘UI’ that we need to navigate the physical world won’t be needed and will be replaced with digital overlays with far greater functionality. And yes, colorful animated creatures can inhabit our backyards and parks, waiting to be discovered. Games beyond anything we can imagine today will be played out. Not by humans wired into Matrix-style pods, but by human beings walking, running, exploring, talking and connecting in the real world.
So yeah, it was a big day and we are super excited about what it means for the future. There may be some potholes along the way, but stick with it. This is a ride you won’t want to miss.
Over the last week, we saw over 2 million fans from around the world join together to celebrate their love for Pokémon and Pokémon GO at Pikachu Outbreak hosted by The Pokémon Company and Pokémon GO events supported by Niantic in Yokohama, Japan. It was incredible to witness so many Pokémon GO Trainers spend hours traversing the city of Yokohama and its beautiful parks to catch over 120 million Pokémon, including over 15 million Pikachu.
Pokémon GO Park captured the essence of real-world gaming, with hundreds of thousands of Trainers exploring Yokohama’s beautiful parks and the surrounding area with friends each day. At Pokémon GO Stadium on Monday, August 14, we saw the power and excitement around teaming up with friends and other players as Trainers battled Mewtwo and accomplished Pokémon GO’s biggest challenge yet.
When we set out to create Pokémon GO and envisioned its real-world events, we had a goal to offer players from all walks of life the opportunity to build new friendships and discover new and unique ways to explore the world around them. The events in Yokohama are an example of what Pokémon GO can do in the hands of its passionate community. It was a sight to behold as Trainers bonded over Pokémon and Pokémon GO, strengthened friendships, and shared personal experiences with one another.
The celebration didn’t end there. We recently revealed details about Exclusive Raid Battles, so make sure to continue to team up with your friends in Raid Battles near you for a chance to earn an invitation to battle and catch Pokémon such as Mewtwo when Exclusive Raid Battles are available.
As we celebrate a record-breaking week, we are also reflecting on ways we can continue to improve these real-world events on a large scale on multiple levels. We’re looking forward to bringing Pokémon GO’s real-world events to Europe as part of the Pokémon GO Safari Zone activities in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco. Keep an eye on the official Pokémon GO social channels for further details. This past week’s events in Yokohama will go down in history as one of the biggest real-world gaming events yet… and we’re only just beginning.
—The Niantic team
I recently completed my first “Operation Clear Field” last night, a micro-service event that we are doing in conjunction with GoRuck. Operation Clear Field or OCF is a series of events being run in 120 cities across the United States that combine Ingress gameplay, a scavenger hunt, and community service. I call these ‘micro-service’ events because they are designed to bring the fun to Ingress communities all across the country versus our typical model of having a mega-event that people have to travel to.
Since Ingress and GORUCK are both best enjoyed in the great outdoors, we decided that all proceeds from this series would be donated to the National Park Foundation, the official charitable partner of the National Park Service. I personally spend a lot of time outdoors, from cycling to work to camping with my family to attending Ingress events around the globe, so I’m excited to be able to help give back to our National Parks.
On the night I attended, we obtained and donated food to a local food bank, visited local community aid organizations, captured Portals and created Links between Portals located at community sites, met and talked with a homeless person and brought him dinner, and stopped to socialize along the way.
What was it like? It’s hard to explain the feeling of being in a place you know well in a different context at a different time of day than you normally see it. This particular event started at 6PM at Oakland’s Lake Merritt. In the ‘golden hour’ light extending past sunset, we found ourselves hustling along the lake under its strand of lights, poking our heads into nearby community service organizations, picking up trash along the way, completing our tasks and documenting everything by jamming ourselves into Instagram selfies.
Even though I have been through that park hundreds of times, it looked different. I found myself gazing at Art Deco building facades I had never seen before and taking in the flowers and redwood trees in the park with fresh eyes, helped by an out-of-town visitor who was shocked to see this beautiful side of Oakland.
There were a few moments that linger as mental snapshots—the look on the face of an Oaklander when we, with his permission, posed to take a photo with his dog beside the lake (a confused expression eased into a smile), the ornate interior of the Veterans Memorial Building (a 1926 gem that functions as a senior citizen resource center, among other things), and the view of the “Necklace of Lights” (first turned on in 1925) across the lake as we sipped a drink at the outdoor tables on the pier behind Lake Chalet.
I hope you will be able to join one of the OCF events this summer. They are based on service but don’t do it because you think you need to do something for someone else, do it for yourself. It’s a fun and energizing way to spend an evening or afternoon and you are sure to meet some other great people.
Find the closest #OpClearField event to you here: https://ingress.com/events#ocf
Got questions? Check out the Operation Clear Field FAQ here: https://goruck.zendesk.com/hc/articles/115002512823
During Pokémon GO Fest 2017 in Chicago we encountered software and network problems that prevented many people from being able to connect to the game. Players were disappointed with their experience that morning, and we heard boos and shouts from the crowd. We'd like to update you on what caused these issues.
While our technical team worked diligently with our event vendor and telecommunications companies to attempt to resolve the issues, I spent nearly the entire day talking face to face with attendees. So did much of the team of Niantic staff who came to Chicago to support the event. During the hours I spent talking to attendees, I passed on the information we had and communicated our policy on refunds and game credits once we had them but mostly I listened to what our players had to say. Certainly many were upset and I did my best to listen and offer any assistance that I could. Some were able to play normally (more on that later) and more than a few Unown Pokémon were captured by those gathered around to talk.
Among those who came up to me, many shared stories of how important the game was to them. Some talked about losing weight, others about a path to recovery after serious illness, and some about repaired relationships with children, siblings and parents. Many groups of friends who had traveled together talked about the shared bond the game created for them. For those stories I am grateful because it was obviously an incredibly stressful and disappointing day for all of us. Both I personally and all of Niantic apologize for the inconvenience and frustration.
What happened? Technical issues with our game software caused client crashes and interfered with gameplay for some users. The gameplay issue was resolved with a server configuration change and the crashes were also addressed for many but not all users. A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers. This caused many attendees to be unable to access Pokémon GO or other Internet services. Network congestion also led to a login issue which affected some users able to access the Internet. This latency-related login issue was addressed with a second Niantic configuration change.
On the pure network access issue, we provided detailed estimates on attendance and required data throughput per user to our event partner who worked with the major carriers to allow them to plan for adequate coverage. Some carriers deployed Cellular on Wheels (COWs) to extend their capacity. In other cases the providers deemed them unnecessary based on other infrastructure already in place at the site. Users reported different levels of success with these providers. Wifi was enabled by one provider as a solution which helped some users but not all. Sprint was onsite as an official partner, deployed a COW, and their network was busy but held up well. Although many players were able to play normally for the majority of the day, many were not, and based on that we made a number of adjustments to the event plan.
Early in the afternoon we informed players that we would refund tickets to those who wanted it and would grant $100 USD in PokéCoins to all attendees due to the inconvenience. We also released the ‘unique’ Pokémon spawning at the event to the surrounding neighborhoods to give people a way to catch them where the mobile network was stronger.
Later in the afternoon we announced the winner of the challenge and let players know that all attendees would receive a Legendary Pokémon in their accounts.
In the early evening, as part of a planned gameplay update for all Trainers globally, we released the Legendary Pokémon Articuno and Lugia to spawn in a broader area around downtown Chicago and around the world.
That’s when Pokémon GO Trainers did something awesome. As people filed out of the event into surrounding areas where the cellular network was less overburdened, they were able to play together and to capture Legendary Pokémon ‘in the wild.’ It was inspiring to watch Trainers band together with their friends and to enjoy the beautiful evening together despite the struggles of the day. That spirit extended well into the night and resumed again the next day with clusters of Pokémon GO Trainers roaming the city battling Legendary Pokémon throughout the day Sunday. Together, from late Saturday to Sunday, Trainers in downtown Chicago participated in more than 69,000 Raid Battles and captured more than 7.7 million Pokémon, including more than 440,000 Legendary Pokémon. It was an amazing sight to behold and is a testament to the love of the game and to the bonds these Trainers share with one another.
Trainers from around the world joined in as well. During that same time period they participated in more than 4.6 million Raid Battles and caught more than 500 million Pokémon, including more than 1.9 million Legendary Pokémon.
At the same time we were struggling in Chicago, an amazing event was unfolding in Chester, UK, organized by our partner Big Heritage. More than 17,000 people visited that event over two days in one of England’s oldest and most historic settings. The combination of history and family-oriented Pokémon GO play was a hit.
We will be incorporating all of our learnings into the Pokémon GO events planned for later this summer in Yokohama, Japan and across Europe.
As these events unfold, Trainers all around the world will have a chance to capture even more Legendary Pokémon. Based on the efforts Saturday at Pokémon GO Fest, Lugia and Articuno were unlocked. In the weeks ahead, they will be joined by Moltres and Zapdos.
- Articuno (Team Mystic) released on Saturday, July 22 and available through Monday, July 31.
- Moltres (Team Valor) to be released on Monday, July 31 and available through Monday, August 7.
- Zapdos (Team Instinct) to be released on Monday, August 7 and available through Monday, August 14.
Real-world events are core to the Niantic mission of exploration, exercise and social interaction. We’ve been doing events since the early days of Ingress in 2012. Those events grew progressively larger over time, starting with a few dozen attendees and growing to over 10,000 in Tokyo last summer. At each stage of growth, we encountered challenges and each time we overcame them, we gained new skills and pioneered new techniques for building real-world experiences that support our mission. Last Saturday was not a happy day for us but we are committed to listening to that feedback, however harsh, to improve what we do so that we can continue to build experiences that bring together people, technology, and the real world in innovative ways.
Niantic, Inc., the developer, and publisher of Pokémon GO, The Pokémon Company International and Big Heritage, the UK heritage organization have partnered to curate historical locations throughout the ancient city of Chester within Pokémon GO to encourage community engagement and education.
On the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of July, events will be staged across Chester, including activities based at Chester Castle, which will be open to the public for the first time in 20 years. Visitors to the city will be able to take part in a number of fun trail activities, with in-game and real-world surprises for Pokémon GO players. The weekend of events coincides with the annual Chester Heritage Festival, which celebrates the heritage of one of the world’s most historic cities.
Chester will play host to Pokémon GO Trainers visiting the UK from around the world, turning historical sites into PokéStops that players can interact with. Big Heritage will also be working with schools across the Cheshire and Merseyside regions as part of an initiative to encourage young people to explore and learn about their local area by playing Pokémon GO together.
Niantic CEO and founder John Hanke said "I am incredibly excited about this partnership linking local history and Pokémon GO. We love the idea of using mobile games as a motivation for families to play outside together and perhaps to learn something interesting while they are at it!"
Big Heritage founder Dean Paton said “We are so excited about working with Niantic, Inc., who are true innovators in their field, and as passionate as we are about getting people exploring and learning about the world around them. It’s a genuine coup for Chester to be the ‘test bed’ for some amazing new ideas, and we hope we can use the game based on the iconic and beloved Pokemon brand as a tool for helping more people get excited about the past.”
Get involved – use the hashtag #PokemonGO and let us know if you planning to join the festival by “attending” the event on the Big Heritage Facebook page.
—The Niantic team
At the core of Niantic is the mission to use technology to encourage people to go outside and engage with their communities. Our games are designed to inspire movement, face-to-face social interactions, and exploration of public spaces. We’ve been hosting community events since the very beginning, starting with Field Trip Days and Ingress Anomalies, and have expanded that to host a variety of Ingress and Pokémon GO events, including Ingress Mission Days and the upcoming Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago. We recently launched Operation Clear Field in conjunction with our partners at GoRuck which will donate all registration fees to the National Park Foundation.
We are formalizing our community partnership initiative and under the Niantic Community Events umbrella which will focus on engaging with like-minded public and private organizations, such as The Knight Foundation and Big Heritage, who strive to positively impact local communities through the innovative use of technology. Niantic Community Events will focus on creating and managing partnerships with civic organizations who share our enthusiasm for using emerging mobile and AR technology to grow healthier, more engaged and more active cities. We seek to collaboratively highlight local historical sites, public libraries, parks and zoos, community centers, public art, street fairs and celebrations and other public spaces and activities that tie our communities together.
Here’s a list of the upcoming events, with more to come:
Ingress Mission Days
- ONGOING, Worldwide
Ingress Operation Clear Field - 6/3–8/27/17, United States
Free Library of Philadelphia - Fall 2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)
Big Heritage “Chester Heritage Festival” - 7/22—7/23/17, Chester, United Kingdom
Akron Open Streets Event - 8/26—8/27/17, Akron, Ohio (United States)
Viva CalleSJ Open Streets Event - 9/17/17, San Jose, California (United States)
Emerson College & City of Boston - September 2017, Boston, Massachusetts (United States)
Philly Free Streets - 9/30/17, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)
We’re continuing to grow our community relationships and welcome community-based organizations and city governments to reach out to us if you’re interested in partnering with us. You can reach us at email@example.com.
—The Niantic team
Some of you may have noticed a few billboards pop up in New York, London and Tokyo over the past few days. As we head into Pokémon GO’s one year anniversary this summer, we wanted to celebrate a few of our top Trainer cities by acknowledging their accomplishments in the form of near real-time stats being published about local Pokémon GO gameplay activity. With over 16M Pokémon caught in New York, 17.5M in London and 32.2M in Tokyo just yesterday, we felt that the best way to celebrate these local communities would be to publish these stats and call out these awesome cities. Many of these billboards have been activated as PokéStops in the game, allowing Trainers to engage with them to collect valuable items. Of course, there are many more cities and Trainers to celebrate out there and we plan to honor them in the days and weeks ahead.
This campaign was conceptualized by our new creative agency, Wieden+Kennedy. Iain Tait, Executive Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy London, said: “We're thrilled to be working with Niantic. We're massive fans of their aim to inspire people to explore their environment through creative Real World games. Working on a constantly evolving gaming platform and experience like Pokémon GO is a dream come true.”
Here’s a sampling of the Pokémon GO City Celebrations advertising creative to give you a sense of what Trainers in London, New York and Tokyo will be seeing this month:
We’re very excited to be working with this innovative creative team!
—The Niantic team
As you probably already caught in the news, we are currently at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California to reveal how we are working on enhancing Pokémon GO’s augmented reality features even more with Apple’s new ARKit for developers being released with iOS 11 this fall.
Utilizing this exciting advance in AR, we are working to create new, fun and innovative ways to place Pokémon in the world around you, to view Pokémon, and to use your phone camera to capture the moment. The digital world will overlay the real world in more detailed and accurate ways and you will be able to interact with Pokémon in a more immersive and life-like fashion. For a sneak peek into how these advances may be applied to Pokémon GO in the future, see the screenshots below to get an early look into what's currently possible in the Pokémon GO ARKit tech demo.
In addition to this week's announcements with Apple, we have a lot to celebrate these days, as we are also planning for an epic summer in the northern hemisphere, which we'll be sharing more details on shortly.
We can’t wait to tell you more about the new AR features and to share an even more engaging Pokémon GO experience soon!
—The Niantic team
We’re excited to announce that Niantic is forming a multi-year partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to advance civic engagement in local communities around the United States through augmented reality experiences. This partnership will foster discovery, bring communities together and promote engagement within public spaces by leveraging Niantic experiences and technologies including Ingress and Pokémon GO at select community events supported by The Knight Foundation.
The collaboration will play out at community events in several cities, including Knight-sponsored Open Streets events. These temporarily close off car traffic so people can use streets for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing and socializing. The initiative will also tap unique facets of a city’s public spaces such as parks and libraries to bring together people of diverse backgrounds and build a sense of shared community. Over the next year, Niantic will collaborate with civic leaders in several cities where Knight Foundation supports community engagement. The initiative will work to enhance these events featuring special content within their augmented reality mobile games, Ingress and Pokémon GO.
The first event in the collaboration between Niantic and the Knight Foundation will be hosted on May 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of the Open Streets 704 event in a 2.5 mile area. Though this first event will be experimental, fans of Pokémon GO can look forward to interacting with 16 PokéStops and two Gyms selected by the City of Charlotte at significant sites along the route. These locations will be highlighted on the official Open Streets 704 route map displayed at the event. To further immerse fans in the real-world experience, the physical location of each PokéStop will be physically marked along the route.
Stay tuned for details about upcoming events supported by Niantic in collaboration with The Knight Foundation.
—The Niantic team
It’s been another incredible week for Pokémon GO.
Yesterday, Pokémon GO won the Best Mobile and Handheld Game at the British Academy of Film, Television and Arts Game Awards. We are surprised and grateful to be awarded this honor.
We owe the continued momentum and recognition to the dedicated players exploring the world and creating adventures together in Pokémon GO. Each and every award Pokémon GO has won is a testament to the game’s awesome and supportive community. We haven’t had a chance to thank everyone for each of these, so please accept a collective thank you now on behalf of all of us at Niantic and our partners at The Pokémon Company for all of these amazing honors including, but not limited to:
- Adweek’s Hot List - Hottest Digital Obsession & Hottest Mobile Game
- Academy of Arts and Science’s D.I.C.E. Awards - Mobile Game of the Year
- BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards - Best Game
- GameSpot - Best Mobile Games of the Year
- Golden Joystick Awards - Innovation of the Year & Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year
- GSMA Glomo Awards 2017 - Best Overall Mobile App
- IGN - Mobile Game of the Year
- SXSW Gaming Awards - Mobile Game of the Year
- TechCrunch's Crunchies - Best App of the Year
- The Game Awards - Best Mobile/Handheld Game & Best Family Game
- The Game Developers Choice Awards - Best Mobile/Handheld Game
We continue to be inspired by the passion of the 65+ million people from around the world playing Pokémon GO each month. We’re still at the beginning of the journey and there’s a lot more to come. With spring arriving in the northern hemisphere, players can look forward to all new cooperative social gameplay experiences in Pokémon GO that will give Trainers new and exciting reasons to get back into the sunshine.
See you outside!
—The Niantic team
Finding Pokémon this winter in Europe just got a little easier! Starting February 18, we’re adding new PokéStops and Gyms across 58 shopping and destination centers in 10 European countries with our first European partner, Unibail-Rodamco.
Between 10 – 15 new PokéStops and Gyms will be added to public spaces, social hubs, and public art at each of the destination centers. Trainers will not only be able to keep warm in the cold winter months while playing Pokémon GO, but also add a fun, social, and dynamic addition to their shopping experience.
We recognize and appreciate their leadership in developing unique and innovative social hubs that promote a friendly atmosphere and a sense of community. Because of this, Unibail-Rodamco, Europe’s largest listed commercial property company, is a particularly fitting partnership for Pokémon GO.
To celebrate this partnership, on February 18th Unibail-Rodamco will be hosting Pokémon GO events at 20 locations throughout Europe. These events will include a contest to find Pokémon around each location, lures which will be active the whole day at each location and other events. You won’t want to miss this! The following is a list of the 20 locations that will be participating:
- Vienna, Austria—Donau Zentrum
- Prague, Czech Republic—Centrum Černý Most
- Copenhagen, Denmark—Fisketorvet
- Paris, France—Les 4 Temps I Forum des Halles I Velizy 2 I Aeroville
- Lyon, France—La Part-Dieu
- Nice, France—Polygone Riviera
- Lille, France—Euralille
- Berlin, Germany—Gropius Passagen
- Munich, Germany—Pasing Arcaden
- Oberhausen, Germany—CentrO
- Leipzig, Germany—Höfe am Brühl
- Warsaw, Poland—Arkadia
- Barcelona, Spain—La Maquinista
- Madrid, Spain—Parquesur
- Valencia, Spain—Bonaire
- Stockholm, Sweden—Mall of Scandinavia
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands—Stadshart Amstelveen
Get up, go out, and experience the fun of Pokémon GO together!
—The Niantic team
For a list of all 58 Unibail-Rodamco locations, see below:
- Vienna, Austria—Donau Zentrum I Shopping City Süd
- Prague, Czech Republic—Centrum Černý Most I Centrum Chodov
- Copenhagen, Denmark—Fisketorvet
- Paris, France—Les 4 Temps I Forum des Halles I Velizy 2 I Parly 2 I Aeroville I Rosny 2 I So Ouest I Carré Sénart I CNIT I Ulis 2 I Carrousel Du Louvre I Les Boutiques Du Palais
- Dijon, France—Toison d'Or
- Lyon, France—La Part-Dieu I Confluence
- Nice, France—Polygone Riviera
- Rennes, France—Alma
- Lille, France—Euralille I Villenueve 2
- Oberhausen, Germany—CentrO
- Bochum, Germany—Ruhr Park
- Munich, Germany—Pasing Arcaden
- Leipzig, Germany—Paunsdorf Center I Höfe am Brühl
- Berlin, Germany—Gropius Passagen
- Mönchengladbach, Germany—Minto
- Recklinghausen, Germany—Palais Vest
- Gera, Germany—Gera Arcaden
- Almere, Netherlands—Citymall Almere
- Amsterdam, Netherlands—Stadshart Amstelveen
- Zoetermeer, Netherlands—Stadshart Zoetermeer
- Leidschendam, Netherlands—Winkelcentrum Leidsenhage
- Warsaw, Poland—Arkadia I Galeria Mokotow I Galeria Wilenska
- Wroclaw, Poland—Wroclavia
- Bratislava, Slovakia—Aupark
- Barcelona, Spain—La Maquinista I Splau I Barnasud I Glòries
- Madrid, Spain—Parquesur I Equinoccio Park
- Valencia, Spain—Bonaire
- St. Sebastian, Spain—Garbera
- Badajoz, Spain—El Faro
- Cadiz, Spain—Bahia Sur
- Valladolid, Spain—Vallsur
- Sevilla, Spain—Los Arcos
- Stockholm, Sweden—Täby Centrum I Mall Of Scandinavia I Nacka Forum I Solna Centrum
Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile, and many more Pokémon are nearly here! Starting later this week, you’ll have the opportunity to catch more than 80 Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games. We’ve also implemented some new features to enhance your Pokémon GO experience.
Additional Pokémon: More than 80 Pokémon that were originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games, as well as Pokémon with gender-specific variations, will start rolling out in Pokémon GO.
New Evolutions: There are now more opportunities to evolve your Pokémon in Pokémon GO than ever before. Some Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region will soon be able to evolve—into Pokémon that inhabit the Johto region! Be on the lookout for new Evolution items at PokéStops, which you’ll need to evolve some Pokémon.
New Encounter Gameplay: When you encounter Pokémon in the wild, don’t be surprised if they react in new ways as you’re trying to catch them. You’ll also notice the addition of new item carousels that allow you to select Berries and Poké Balls directly from the encounter screen. Hone your skills and catch those elusive Pokémon!
New Berries: Pokémon enjoy eating Berries, and you’ll have the opportunity to get two new Berries by spinning the Photo Disc at PokéStops—Nanab Berries and Pinap Berries! Giving a Pokémon a Nanab Berry will slow its movements, making it easier to catch. The Pinap Berry doubles the amount of Candy you’ll receive if your next catch attempt succeeds.
New Avatars and an Expanded Wardrobe: Now you’ll be able to give your avatar a complete upgrade! Customize your look with a whole new selection of hats, shirts, pants, and other items.
Be sure to use the hashtag #PokemonGO on Twitter to share your experiences as you explore your local neighborhoods with family and friends. We can’t wait to see the Pokémon you catch!
—The Niantic team
Pokémon GO is now available on the Apple Watch! You will now be able to explore and experience the world around you directly from your wrist, whether you’re searching for wild Pokémon or trying to hatch the Pokémon originally discovered in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games.
Apple Watch is particularly well suited to Pokémon GO as it seamlessly combines gameplay and imagination with getting exercise and exploring the real world. You can easily interact with Pokémon GO on Apple Watch, using quick taps to discover nearby Pokémon and collect items from PokéStops. Once you encounter a Pokémon, you can catch it from your iPhone. You can log your play sessions through the Apple Watch app as a Workout that will count toward your personal Activity rings, while also counting distance toward hatching Pokémon Eggs.
To recap the core features of Pokémon GO on Apple Watch, you’ll be able to
Log each play session as a workout, with gameplay counting toward personal Activity rings
Receive notifications about nearby Pokémon
Count distance toward hatching Pokémon Eggs and receiving Candy with your Buddy Pokémon
Receive notifications about PokéStops nearby and collect items from them
Receive notifications when Eggs hatch and medals are awarded
This holiday season, experience Pokémon GO and the world around you in a whole new way on Apple Watch. It’s the perfect companion for bundled-up winter walks in the Northern Hemisphere and for fun summer activities in the Southern Hemisphere. And hey, what great timing—you can get a head start on that New Year’s fitness resolution by having some fun now!
—The Niantic team
You know that we are fans of a little walk every now and then. That’s why we were excited back in September to announce that Pokémon GO Trainers had walked more than 4.6 billion kilometers since we launched. Trainers have since racked up some impressive stats.
We are pleased to share that—as of December 7—the Pokémon GO community has collectively walked more than 8.7 billion kilometers. That’s more than 200,000 trips around Earth! Fun fact: A commercial jetliner would take more than 1,000 years to cover the same distance. While covering this distance, Trainers also caught more than 88 billion Pokémon along the way. That’s roughly 533 million Pokémon a day!
Get out and go this holiday season, and let’s add some more kilometers to that total! Thank you for your continued support!
—The Niantic team
What a month… already!
As you all know just a week ago we announced our Sprint partnership. So far we have launched 3,700+ of the 10,500 Sprint, Boost Mobile and Sprint at RadioShack stores as PokéStops, Gyms, and real-world charging stations with more coming online daily.
Last Thursday we also announced a partnership with Starbucks that turned 7,800 locations into PokéStops and gathering spots for Trainers. With the two combined partnerships, we will have added a total of 18,300 destinations to Pokémon GO. We are excited to be able to expand the playfield in this way and to have partners to collaborate with to extend the game into the real world in fun and useful ways.
Since some of you have asked, we wanted to clarify that sponsored locations do not appear in the game for players under the age of 13. Earlier this month Pokémon GO won the Mobile Game of the Year and Family Game of the Year at The Game Awards. We are thrilled by the fact that our game is enjoyed by many families and take seriously our job to provide a safe, wholesome, and entertaining experience to our users.
The month isn’t even half over, and it’s been a blast so far. Stay tuned for more.
The Niantic team
Trainers in India,
We’re happy to announce that Reliance Jio Infocomm is an official partner of Pokémon GO in India! Reliance Jio has disrupted the Indian digital services space by providing high speed 4G LTE mobile data at very affordable prices to enable the vision of Digital India for 1.2 billion Indians. We’re excited to join them on this journey. With this partnership, nearly 3,000 Jio stores and partner locations will become PokéStops and Gyms that Trainers can visit to collect items and to battle over.
During Jio’s “Happy New Year” offer, their SIM customers will be able to download and play Pokémon GO without incurring data charges.
Step outside and explore to catch many Pokémon today!
—The Niantic team
We are happy to announce that Starbucks is now an official partner of Pokémon GO.
Starbucks has a long-standing commitment to providing spaces for social interaction and real-world community building in its extensive network of locations. We appreciate their role in creating safe, welcoming locations for people from all walks of life to come together for refreshment and social engagement. Starting 11 A.M. PST on December 8th, this new partnership will transform 7,800 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States into PokéStops and Gyms, giving Trainers even more places to play and to engage with their local Pokémon GO communities. And to cap it all off, Starbucks is creating a special-edition Pokémon GO Frappuccino® for everyone!
Whether you’re on your daily morning commute or just out exploring your neighborhood with your loved ones, make sure you collect items from the new Starbucks PokéStops or battle in the new Gyms with your favorite Pokémon!
—The Niantic team
As we race towards 2017, we wanted to take a moment and thank you for your support. We’re excited for December because we have a few new experiences and in-game events planned for you before wrapping up the year. While we cannot share all the details yet, keep an eye out on our social media channels on December 12th for details about the first addition of more Pokémon into Pokémon GO.
In addition, we are thrilled to announce that we are working with Sprint to create a special Pokémon GO experience at over 10,500 Sprint locations around the United States. As part of this collaboration, Sprint, Boost Mobile and Sprint at Radioshack stores will become PokéStops and Gyms, giving you even more places to stock up on Poké Balls and Razz Berries and to battle your friends. Sprint locations will also feature in-store charging stations to keep your Pokémon GO sessions going even longer. Sprint also brings a great network and an unlimited data plan to support your search for Pokémon no matter where they are hiding.
—The Niantic team
Here at Niantic we are passionate about exploration and discovery of our local communities. If we get out and explore the places where we live, and maybe meet some of our friends and neighbors along the way, we think that can only be a good thing for the world. A big part of making our communities work here in the US is the democratic process that allows us to select our leaders and influence the laws. We encourage you to exercise your right to vote and make your voice heard.
Every journey starts with a single step, and a path to a better world and a lifetime of making a difference can start with a single vote.
Last Friday, October 28th, 2016, we began an awesome partnership with Globe Telecom and The Pokémon Company in the Philippines!
Through this collaboration, we are really excited to be working with Globe to greatly expand the number of Gyms and PokéStops throughout the country. The addition of the cool Globe retail locations and helpful charging stations will enhance gameplay as Filipinos catch, battle and train all over the Philippines. On Globe Prepaid’s leading GoSURF50 mobile plan, customers will be able to access Pokémon GO as one of the free apps within the bundle as well as download the free Pokémon GO promo on the Globe Switch app.
We kicked off this announcement with a celebration: the first Philippine Pokémon Fest, which happened on October 28th and 29th in Manila. The event brought Pokémon GO to life through appearances, screenings and many other activities. A free event open to Pokémon fans and game enthusiasts alike, the Philippine Pokémon Fest featured walks and tours, costume contests and Pokémon GO Gym battles throughout the weekend.
For everyone outside of Philippines - Our aim is to make it even easier and more fun for you to play Pokemon GO, no matter where you are. Stay tuned for more announcements.
The Pokémon GO team
Circle K was founded in 1951 in El Paso, TX and is the largest independent convenience-store operator in the United States. In December 2015, Circle K piloted an Ingress partnership in the greater Phoenix, AZ metro area with 418 locations becoming in-game portals. As of today, Circle K has now activated all of their 4,700 US stores in the U.S. to become in-game portals. It is rumored that further expansion will occur in Canada and other countries around the world. Players can not only visit Circle K location in-game but will be able to receive Ingress passcodes within the Circle K app after making qualified purchases. The passcodes can be redeemed within the Ingress Scanner or the Intel Map for game items.
When we released Pokémon GO on iOS and Android devices on July 5, we were anticipating that millions of people around the globe would play our new game. What we did not foresee was that Pokémon GO would immediately become a global phenomenon. From initial release in Australia and New Zealand to now being available in more than 90 countries, Pokémon GO has since been downloaded more than 500 million times.
Over the last four years, Niantic’s engineering team built and scaled Ingress, our first Real World game, creating a unique software architecture to provide an optimal platform with massive scalability for all of our games going forward. While our platform was architected to avail itself of any of the available cloud providers, our experience with Google Cloud Platform made it the obvious choice to bring Pokémon GO’s augmented reality world to life.
Google Cloud Platform’s range of services allowed us to focus solely on our players rather than sink time into managing and securing servers and infrastructure. Having the real-time shared world of Pokémon GO inhabited by hundreds of millions of players required scalable architecture throughout the the serving stack. The Cloud Datastore service that we were utilizing was soon running at more than fifty times our original projections. Player demand ultimately spiked by more than an order of magnitude, ten times our most aggressive estimates, requiring hot fixes and ongoing game changes against a backdrop of massive growth in players.
With Google Cloud product and engineering teams at our side as consultative partners, Niantic was able to overcome the rush of millions of enthusiastic Trainers and stabilize the service. Engineering teams from both companies began working hand-in-hand around the clock the moment it became clear that the game’s popularity would exceed our wildest estimates. More than a dozen teams across Cloud Platform and other core Google products rallied to support us as we pushed live improvements to the game for our players. In parallel, Google’s infrastructure teams worked to tune systems, ensuring sufficient capacity for us to keep up with the game’s skyrocketing popularity.
We want to extend a huge thank you to the Google Cloud team for their support and look forward to growing the Pokémon GO community with them in coming years.
Phil Keslin, CTO Niantic
I feel this simple little game has been very good for me. Ever since my husband passed away close to two years ago, I've been living the life of a recluse. Yes, I became THAT woman in the house down the street. Now that I have the game, I am going out every day...stepping outside my comfort zone. This morning I went to the park and WALKED for 30 minutes. Now, keep in mind I use either a cane or walker to get around and walking is very difficult for me. I am usually embarrassed about this. But I found today people don't really see that. They smile and wish a good morning. They are chasing that elusive Pikachu just like me. They don't point and laugh at the disabled old woman hobbling along slowing them down. They SMILED at me and made the sun shine just a little bit more. Thank you for this wonderful new game and a new lease on life.
It’s been an incredible run since launch and, as we start wrapping up the summer in California, we want to thank all the Trainers for the enthusiasm they have shown for the game.
Pokémon GO has been installed hundreds of millions of times since our launch in early July and is played in more than 100 countries around the world. We are working hard to bring the game to more (India, we hear you!). All that and we’ve only scratched the surface of gameplay that we want to create. It’s been terrific to see all the activity throughout the world. Most inspiring has been the response from people of all ages and lifestyles describing how Pokémon GO has been force for good in their lives. We set out to create an experience that encourages discovery, exercise and real world connections and it has been incredible to see that mission come to life.
New stories have surfaced virtually daily about Trainers getting out into the real world, becoming more healthy, meeting neighbors, and helping kids. We've also heard from people using the game to cope with social anxiety, depression and autism, and even using it to improve their relationships. We have heard from tens of thousands of you directly, including amazing examples such as Kelly, who emailed us to tell her story about getting out finding a new sense of purpose. We have seen dozens of self-organized player events, some with humanitarian goals such as Pokémon for Progress. All of your stories and smiles have motivated us through sleepless nights.
Thank you for your continued support! We’ve got a lot more in the works this fall. Stay tuned here for all the details.
John Hanke and the team at Niantic
We just revealed how we’re bringing Pokémon GO to Apple Watch on stage at the Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
As you know, Pokémon GO is about blending gameplay and imagination with getting exercise and exploring the real world around you. Apple Watch will add a seamless way to interact with the game through easy trackers, haptic notifications and quick taps to keep playing. Additionally, the Pokémon GO app for Apple Watch encourages workouts with summaries of your activity, which fits in nicely both with Niantic’s mission to get you moving as well as with the way many people already use their Apple Watch. Pokémon GO will come to Apple Watch later in the year so stay tuned.
In other news, we have also revealed a cool milestone for Pokémon GO. In the last eight weeks, Pokémon GO surpassed 500 million downloads around the world and players have collectively walked 4.6 billion kilometers, which is the distance from Earth to Pluto. That’s pretty far out. What these numbers really show are the power of an emerging genre of new games we call “real world games” and the appeal, of course, of the beloved Pokémon universe.
Today the game is played in more than 100 countries and we are working hard to bring the game to many more. Most inspiring for us as we rolled out the game internationally has been the response from people of all ages and lifestyles describing how Pokémon GO has been a force for good in their lives. Thanks for sharing those stories, keep them coming.
It’s GO time!
—The Niantic team
Things have been pretty crazy here at Niantic over the last few weeks but despite all of the ups and downs we get up every day inspired by the original goals of Niantic -- to create an experience that encourages healthy outdoor exploration and social gameplay. Every positive story we hear (like this one from the UK) motivates us to keep working to support the game and continue the roll-out. Running a product like Pokémon GO at scale is challenging. Those challenges have been amplified by third parties attempting to access our servers in various ways outside of the game itself.
As some of you may have noticed we recently rolled out Pokémon GO to Latin America including Brazil. We were very excited to finally be able to take this step. We were delayed in doing that due to aggressive efforts by third parties to access our servers outside of the Pokémon GO game client and our terms of service. We blocked some more of those attempts yesterday. Since there has been some public discussion about this, we wanted to shed some more light on why we did this and why these seemingly innocuous sites and apps actually hurt our ability to deliver the game to new and existing players. The chart below shows the drop in server resources consumed when we blocked scrapers. Freeing those resources allowed us to proceed with the Latin America launch.
In addition to hampering our ability to bring Pokémon GO to new markets, dealing with this issue also has opportunity cost. Developers have to spend time controlling this problem vs. building new features. It’s worth noting that some of the tools used to access servers to scrape data have also served as platforms for bots and cheating which negatively impact all Trainers. There is a range of motives here from blatant commercial ventures to enthusiastic fans but the negative impact on game resources is the same.
Of course, there are also outright hackers out there attempting to break into systems, hijack social media accounts, and even bring down the service. Some of them have posted publicly about their attempts.
We don’t expect these attempts to stop. But we do want you to understand why we have taken the steps we have and why we will continue to take steps to maintain the stability and integrity of the game.
We value feedback from our community. We have heard feedback about the Nearby feature in the game and are actively working on it. Over the past three and half years many of us in the company have traveled throughout the country and, in fact, around the world to meet, play, and learn from our Ingress user community. And we look forward to doing the same with the Pokémon GO community. Please keep your game ideas and feedback coming. We look forward to getting the game on stable footing so we can begin to work on new features.
Above all, be safe, be nice to your fellow Trainers, and keep on exploring.
Five years ago, Niantic set out on a path to change the way people interact with the world around them by creating the world’s first “real world gaming” platform. By exploiting the capabilities of smartphones and location technology and through building a unique massively scalable server and global location dataset, we have helped users all around the world have fun, socialize, and get more fit as they play and explore. Ingress, our first “real world” game, has given millions of players an entirely new way to see the world around them.
Those players have coalesced into an amazing global community where players compete, collaborate, and celebrate in more than 200 countries around the world. Some have literally traveled to the ends of the earth in their quest to help their faction control the world. It’s the passion of this community that inspires us to come to work every day to create new experiences.
Which brings us to our next adventure together. We are pleased to announce that Pokémon GO, the next evolution of Real World Gaming, is now officially available on both the App Store and on Google Play Store in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. It will be available in other countries around the world in the days ahead.
We’re excited that Pokémon fans and gamers can now start exploring their very own neighborhoods and cities to capture Pokémon using the Pokémon GO app. Players can discover and catch more than 100 Pokémon from the original Red and Blue games, take Pokémon into battle against other Pokémon at Gyms, uncover items including a variety of types of Poké Balls and eggs at PokéStops, hatch and train new Pokémon, and more.
We are also super excited about the Pokémon GO Plus wearable device which will enable players to capture Pokémon and harvest items from PokéStops without ever taking their phone out of their pocket or bag. Players can explore the world and play the game while keeping their attention on the people and sites around them. A walk in the park just became more fun. :-)
We can’t wait to hear about the adventures around the world that Pokémon trainers undertake.
It’s GO time!
John Hanke and the Niantic team
Our team has been making the most of the sunny California weather by walking long distances and enthusiastically testing all of the refinement and new features in Pokémon GO. Many of these refinements have been inspired by feedback received from our field testers in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and United States. Thank you for testing the app and for giving us such great feedback.
We have a few exciting updates to share. We’ve added a new Camera feature that enables Trainers to take photographs of their wild Pokémon encounters. Now you can take a photo of Squirtle next to that scenic lake or Ivysaur hanging out by the park. The photos will be saved to your phone’s camera roll to share with whomever you’d like. We can’t wait to see the varied environments in which trainers will find wild Pokémon.
We’re also thrilled to announce that Pokémon GO’s all-new music track is composed by GAME FREAK’s Junichi Masuda. We've been working closely with Masuda-san on several of the core game design elements of Pokémon GO and feel very fortunate to also have drawn from his decades of experience composing original music for the Pokémon games.
We enjoyed participating in Nintendo’s Treehouse Live Pokémon GO developer Q&A session at E3 today. With each day, we’re getting closer to launch and we can’t wait to share this game with everyone. Stay tuned for more details.
-- The Pokémon GO Development team
It’s getting closer. It’s been sort of like making a big meal for your friends or family. We have been sweating the details in the kitchen and now we are anxious and excited to share our creation with you.
Some of you have been in the kitchen with us. You’ve have done a great job of guiding us so far. Across Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Pokémon GO field testers have been collecting and battling with impressive regularity and we’re learning a lot from them. And today, we’re expanding that field test to the United States to get more feedback to improve the game.
It’s been exciting to hear stories from our testers as they explore the world around them in their quest to collect Pokémon and recently we’ve added a ton of new features to expand gameplay even further. Trainers can now help Pokémon evolve, opening up a whole new area of gameplay. Trainers can also find and collect Pokémon Eggs in addition to fully grown Pokémon. Trainers will get a good workout as you must walk a preset distance in order to hatch the Egg and find out what Pokémon will emerge. Incubators are provided to help with this process.
Trainers also will encounter Pokémon Gyms at real-world locations. Pokémon Gyms are special locations where Trainers can test their Pokémon in battles as they compete to win control of the Gym for one of three Pokémon Trainer teams. Empty Gyms are claimed by a team when a Trainer places a Pokémon there to claim it. Friendly Gyms grow in prestige when their defending Pokémon are trained in battles. Higher level Gyms have room for more Trainers to deploy Pokémon to defend them. Rival Gyms can be challenged by Trainers who can use their Pokémon to attack the defending Pokémon. Groups of players can work together to challenge rival Gyms.
Fun fact - After many hours of field test gameplay, the Venusaur hasn’t been spotted yet. Who will be the first field tester who catches or evolves their Bulbasaurs or Ivysaurs into Venusaur? There’s much to explore and many Pokémon to find! :)
Our team is learning and iterating, and we can’t wait to share Pokémon GO with everyone. Stay tuned for more details.
-- The Pokémon GO Development Team
The Pokémon Company and Niantic invite users to field test Pokémon GO in the United States of America. Users can visit http://pokemongo.nianticlabs.com to sign up. Please note that sign up doesn’t guarantee access to the field test. The Pokémon GO field test will give users the opportunity to share early feedback and help improve the Pokémon GO experience.
Thank you for your interest in Pokémon GO.
— The Pokémon GO Development Team
Pokémon GO Australia & New Zealand field test invites will start rolling out today. Niantic will select users based on a variety of factors which may include OS types, experience in real world games and an element of luck. If you’re selected to participate, you’ll receive an email from us with detailed instructions. If you don't receive an email, please be patient as we plan to increase the number of invites over time.
— The Pokémon GO Development Team
The Pokémon Company and Niantic invite users to field test Pokémon GO in Australia and New Zealand. Users can visit http://pokemongo.nianticlabs.com to sign up. Please note that sign up doesn’t guarantee access to the field test. The Pokémon GO field test will give users the opportunity to share early feedback and help improve the Pokémon GO experience.
Thank you for your interest in Pokémon GO.
— The Pokémon GO Development Team
We’re thrilled to provide a peek into Pokémon GO.
Pokémon GO represents the next generation of Niantic’s “Real World Gaming” platform. This platform combines mobile location technology and augmented reality to create a unique game experience that motivates players to go outside and explore the world around them.
Players will explore their surroundings to find and catch wild Pokémon. Certain wild Pokémon only appear in their native environments; for example, Water-type Pokémon may only appear near lakes and oceans.
Players will walk to hatch previously-acquired eggs that might reveal new Pokémon. Eggs and other special items such as Poké Balls can be acquired at PokéStops - located at interesting places such as public art installations, historical markers, museums and monuments.
Yes, there will be battles. Players will be encouraged to join one of three teams in order to compete over the ownership and prestige of Gyms. They will do this by placing their captured Pokémon in a friendly Gym or by battling with an opponent’s Pokémon in another team’s Gym. Gyms - just like PokéStops - are also found at real world locations.
As previously shared with you here, an early user field test will soon begin in Japan while the game is still in active development. Features, available languages, design and overall appearance are not final.
We’re excited to reveal more in the days to come.
— The Pokémon GO Development Team
The Pokémon Company and Niantic will be inviting users to field test Pokémon GO in Japan later this month. The Pokémon GO field test program will give users the opportunity to share early feedback and help improve the Pokémon GO experience. Please stay tuned for information about expansion of the field test to other markets.
Thank you for your interest in Pokémon GO.
— The Pokémon GO Development Team
Welcoming Gilman Louie, David Jones, Fuji TV, Cyan & Scott Banister, and Lucas Nealan to the Niantic Family
We’ve never thought of ourselves as a typical gaming company at Niantic. We’ve always followed our own path as we have worked to integrate real world exploration, social interaction and gameplay in our quest to improve the world through our products. I’m pleased to announce that a set of partners have signed up to help us in this mission. All are making an investment but more importantly each one brings a unique strategic attribute to our team
Alsop Louie will be bringing its expertise in gaming and related technologies and Gilman Louie will be joining the board. Gilman brings personal experience ranging from founding game industry pioneer Spectrum Holobyte to investing in Keyhole and later in Twitch. David Jones and his new venture ‘You and Mr Jones’ will be bringing an unparalleled knowledge of the new brand technology industry. David was previously the CEO of Havas where he worked closely with some of the leading brand advertisers in the world. Fuji Television, as one of the largest broadcast networks in Japan, will be bringing its experience building media brands in Asia. Cyan and Scott Banister and Lucas Nealan will be bringing their deep network of technology industry connections. Cyan and Scott Banister were just named “Angel Investors of the Year’ in the 2016 Crunchies and Lucas Nealan was an early Facebook engineer.
Exciting times are afoot at Niantic.
Wow. 2015 was a busy year for Niantic and one filled with some memorable challenges and triumphs for the team. Some of the highlights that stick out for me were mingling with more than 6,000 Ingress players at a massive Ingress event in historic Kyoto in the heart of cherry blossom season, winning the Game Designers Grand Prize at the Tokyo Game Show, announcing Pokémon GO with our new partners In Japan, closing our financing and spinning out of Google, and setting up our new offices and operations in four countries around the world.
It was absolutely amazing to watch the Ingress community continue to evolve through the course the year, many reaching spectacular heights– managing to launch a couple of ‘Ingress babies’ along with amazing Operations literally spanning the globe. We rolled into our three year anniversary topping 14M downloads and seeing the largest number of active players in the game’s history.
Agents didn’t just download the game. They immersed themselves in it at levels dwarfing past years, for example walking more than 258 million kilometers while playing Ingress in 2015. That’s nearly double the distance that players covered in 2014. Our Ingress Anomaly events series saw three times the number of attendees in 2015, bringing 254,184 people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds together at real world meet ups that synced up around the world.
As I look toward Pokémon GO and beyond, I am as excited as I was on day one about how the idea of ‘Real World’ games can help us meet new people and forge connections in our home towns and around the world while also giving us a nudge to stay active and explore those less travelled paths, in our backyard and sometimes far beyond.
Is 2016 the year of VR? AR? I don’t love those labels because I think they understate the revolution happening in what people have traditionally called ‘games’ by casting the coming innovation as a single device or piece of technology. Video games and computer games have now become cornerstones of entertainment. To compare game sales numbers or minutes spent playing games to TV or movies is pointless. The result is obvious, even as innovators like Twitch merge them in new ways. And now some awesome new technology is making its way in the hands of users and inspiring the minds of developers, stuff people are calling VR, AR, MR, and a bunch of other invented acronyms. At one level you could say that all of it is an outgrowth of the smartphone revolution– tiny powerful processors, amazing displays, sensors of all kinds, robust location and mapping technology– all now made cheap, reliable and ubiquitous. I think we are going to see those basic building blocks refactored into all kinds of new hardware that will be exploited to blur the lines between games, cinema, apps, fitness and even navigation and commerce. I am not going to predict what the ‘winning’ hardware formula will be (in a sense we are all going to win as consumers and gamers by having a slew of innovative experiences to sample and enjoy) but I would bet on things that are more phone-like than PC-like. The future of technology will be one where it accompanies us everywhere and is there to enhance, enrich, and sometimes transform our lives on demand. Games and entertainment will be at the center of that.
It’s going to be a fun year. We are looking forward to seeing all kinds of innovation unfold and, perhaps more importantly, using it to populate the world with a few million Pokémon and then sitting back to watch what happens.
Back in August, we announced Niantic would spin out from Google to become an independent company. Today, we are thrilled to disclose that our mission will be backed by global giants in the game, entertainment and technology sectors.
The Pokémon Company, Google and Nintendo are investing up to $30 million in Niantic, Inc., which includes an initial $20 million upfront and an additional $10 million in financing conditioned upon the company achieving certain milestones. We will be using this capital to continue the development of Pokémon GO, to evolve and grow Ingress and its thriving global community, and to build out our real-world gaming platform.
It was quite an honor to be on stage in Tokyo last month with legendary games and entertainment heroes Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company, and Junichi Masuda of GAME FREAK to tell the world about Pokémon GO. We are all incredibly excited about the opportunity to create a product true to the spirit of the original Pokémon games while extending gameplay out into the real world. Because it is a mobile game, players all around the world will be able to immerse themselves in the Pokémon universe on devices they already have in their hands.
Here are some words from our esteemed investors:
Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO, The Pokémon Company:
Pokémon’s strategic investment in Niantic paves the way for a social mobile experience the world has never seen before,” said Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company. “The Pokémon Company is committed to partnering with companies like Niantic that share the same spirit of community and innovation.
Don Harrison, VP of Corporate Development, Google:
Niantic has shown the great potential of mixing geolocation technology, dynamic storytelling, and innovative game design, and we’re excited to continue supporting the team on their journey.
It’s exciting to finally be able to share some of our big updates. We are hard at work in our new San Francisco and satellite offices preparing for a series of massive, global Ingress events this Fall, readying Pokémon GO for launch next year, and extending our platform to support a variety of experiences that support our core values of exercise, discovery, and fun.
Founder & CEO, Niantic, Inc.