Blog
April 13, 2021
Small Actions Add up to Big Change: Supporting Our Planet

In years past, we’ve worked with nonprofits to host local cleanup events for players around the world. In exchange, players have successfully unlocked the highest tiers of in game rewards across Pokémon GO and Ingress, year over year. Like many other companies, we unfortunately had to cancel the plans we had mapped out for April 2020 last year, as the global pandemic became a major concern.

This year, we’re excited to announce a new take on our sustainability efforts - we’re inviting players to take individual actions that support our planet with the belief that, if we all do something small, it can add up to big things. We have loved the local cleanup efforts that players and nonprofits have engaged in in the past, but this year we’re focusing on how we can effect change while staying safe. To unlock tiered rewards, we’re calling on you to choose one of the following actions:

  • Take Care of Your Community: pick up trash around your neighborhood
  • Adopt a New Sustainability Practice: plant a tree, shrub, or other native plant
  • Help Out a Local Cause: volunteer your time

Based on social sharing and the impactful actions taken by individual players, we’ll unlock in-game tiered rewards. Check out our website to learn more about what specific actions count towards unlocking in-game tiered rewards! We’re looking forward to seeing the impact you all make, and are ready to celebrate the Earth in many ways.

–Social Impact Team

#SustainableWithNiantic

April 2, 2021
Stop Asian Hate

We stand with the Asian and AAPI communities against white supremacy, racism, and hate crimes. We are committed to making sure the world is a safe place to interact, adventure, and explore. Here’s the internal memo we shared with employees on how we’re committing to change.
#StopAsianHate

Niantics,

We are again witnessing targeted systemic racism that is endangering our communities. The executive leadership team and I have touched on this topic before but I want to follow up on our initial commitments to the Asian and Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community.

Asian and AAPI hate incidents have dramatically increased in the last year. This has ranged from verbal harassment, spitting, physical assault, and even murder. Just two weeks ago, the shootings in Atlanta claimed the lives of eight people, of which six were Asian women.

Like many of you, I have a desire to find the right way to engage as an individual in being a part of the solution. It's important that we view this within the context of historical Asian and AAPI discrimination in the U.S., including the Page Act of 1875 banning immigration by Chinese women (leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act), as well as the internment of Japanese Americans. More recently we’ve seen the consequences of harmful language surrounding COVID-19.

This is a somber reminder that racism and hate still exist in our world today, and that our most vulnerable communities bear the brunt of discrimination and white supremacy. The targeting of these communities is inexcusable and must end.

We’ve taken time to evaluate how we as an organization can show our solidarity and create a more inclusive, diverse world where people feel safe to exist and adventure without fear. We are committing $1 million to education initiatives and donations to various causes and organizations, focused in three areas: awareness, education and community activism:

Awareness: We will donate to Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus to help raise awareness of racist, discriminatory, and xenophobic incidents in the public consciousness and aid in their reporting and legislation efforts. We will also identify other organizations involved in this important work.

Education: We will invest in educational programs both internally and externally, to help people learn the history of communities of color in the U.S., how racism became institutionalized, and how we can undo generations of misguided thinking and behavior.

Community activism: No one should feel unsafe and unsupported in their neighborhoods. We will be offering all employees a donation match at a 2X rate if they contribute to select organizations supporting the AAPI community. We will also explore helping AAPI-owned businesses as part of our Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative and the funding of programs that focus on keeping local AAPI communities safe and vibrant.

We remain committed to our role in building a more just, fair, and better future where everyone can safely enjoy the outdoors in their local communities and in the world at large. We will continue to fight racism, injustice, and white supremacy. We are continuing to learn and grow and are always looking for opportunities to strengthen these commitments.

We’ve always said the heart of Niantic is our community of players and we do not believe in standing idly by. We are here to help Stop Asian Hate.


– John Hanke
March 30, 2021
Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance Accelerates Social AR Future in Codename: Urban Legends
  • Debuting today, Codename: Urban Legends powered by the Niantic Platform demonstrates large-scale multiplayer on 5G
  • Alliance partners Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, and Verizon demonstrate network optimization for Codename: Urban Legends
  • Telstra also joins the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance as its newest member

At Niantic, we’re building a planet-scale AR platform for current and future generations of hardware, as well as the networks that power them like 5G and mobile edge computing. Last year, we formed a group of the top global carriers that share this mission with us: the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance. Together, we’re working towards persistent shared AR experiences that create new ways for people to interact and play together in the real-world.

Today, we’re announcing our next step towards that vision: Codename: Urban Legends, a multiplayer demo experience that offers a glimpse into the future of AR and 5G networks.

Built on our platform that also powers Niantic signature titles including Ingress, Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Codename: Urban Legends leverages 5G’s ultra-low latency and high bandwidth capabilities to deliver a deeply immersive, highly social AR experience. By teaming up, players cast magic spells to blast monsters and rescue mythical allies, including Doty, the original Niantic Explorer.

The Potential of AR and 5G

Ever since 5G’s inception, people have wondered what the “killer app” will be – the software that demonstrates and drives demand for new hardware. At Niantic, we believe AR gaming will be 5G’s killer app, because it’s an ideal showcase for high bandwidth, low latency, and massive simultaneous device connectivity, delivering experiences that were impossible or impractical on 4G and Wi-Fi.

5G devices and AR apps will benefit from network-level changes, including bigger data pipes and distributed cloud computing, using servers located closer to more users. These networked computers – also known as multi-access edge computing (MEC) or edge servers – will be able to manage AR content on a massive scale.

Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, and Verizon are already network testing Codename: Urban Legends and seeing impressive results. On top of improvements in latency of up to 10 times and the ability to handle up to 10 times as many simultaneous players, 5G will enable even more capabilities over time that enhance the gameplay experience, such as longer battery life.

Codename: Urban Legends is a demonstration of the kinds of new AR experiences that will be made available to Niantic explorers via the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance. Keep your eyes on the Niantic blog as we have more details to share. For more information about the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance, its mission, and current partners, check out our alliance announcement blog.

Here’s what our Codename: Urban Legends launch partners have to say:

Dr. Alex Choi, Senior Vice President of Head of Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom: "We’re really excited to partner with Niantic and the Planet-Scale AR Alliance to enable real-time immersive multiplayer AR gaming with our advanced 5G and MEC network enabled by MobiledgeX. Edge enablement is crucial to our ability to deliver trusted, secure user experiences that demand high bandwidth, low latency, and real time spatial awareness regardless of the application or industry being served.”

Nikko Acosta, Senior Vice President, Product Management and Content Business Group of Globe: “Globe is a pioneer and leader of 5G technology in the country today. Together with Niantic, we aim to revolutionize the world of mobile gaming with faster speeds, ultra low latency and improved HD video streaming, among others. Earlier this month, we started testing Codename: Urban Legends on our multi-access edge computing platform to deliver near-real time, next level experiences - this is a first for such a project in South East Asia.”

Erin McPherson, Vice President, Consumer Content and Partnerships, Verizon: "Verizon built 5G Ultra Wideband for gamers, with ultra-fast speeds and ultra-low lag that unlocks amazing interactive experiences. Codename: Urban Legends is just the type of creative AR multiplayer game we envisioned benefiting from our leading network, and our customers will be able to see and feel the difference 5G Ultra Wideband brings when playing the game."

Additionally, we welcomed our newest member to the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance, Telstra, who is joining existing partners Deutsche Telekom, EE, Globe Telecom, Orange, SK Telecom, SoftBank Corp., TELUS and Verizon.

Kim Krogh Andersen, Product & Technology Group Executive, Telstra: “We are absolutely thrilled to join the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance to help drive the next generation of rich entertainment experiences and further bring 5G to life. We will leverage our leading 5G network – including mmWave’s high bandwidth potential – and combine our network slicing, ultra-low latency, enhanced mobile broadband, and edge compute capabilities to drive immersive real-world multiplayer AR experiences to demonstrate the possibilities of 5G.

Gaming is massive in Australia and we know AR gaming will be popular among both casual and dedicated gamers, just like Niantic’s past entertainment experiences, especially when played on Australia’s largest and best 5G. We are on track to cover 75% of Australia’s population with 5G coverage by the end of June and have no doubt this is why Niantic asked us to join its Alliance.”


–The Niantic team