We returned to Mobile World Congress this year with a bang! The sound of magical spells could be heard down the halls of the Fira Grand Via as our playable Urban Legends demo premiered at the annual gathering of tech leaders and telcos.
Together with our Niantic Planet-Scale AR partner Orange, we offered a first look at a shared augmented reality gaming experience where players work collaboratively to defeat opponents and rescue Doty, the original Niantic explorer. Advances in our Lightship platform technology makes this possible, and when combined with 5G, the experience is closer to real-time than ever before.
"We demoed Urban Legends multiplayer AR 5G gaming experience on the Orange Booth at MWC 2021. It generated a lot of interest from our customers and partners, and beyond our own expectations. We are proud to be the first Telco in the world to show what state of the art mobile networks can bring to gaming.” - Christian Bombrun, EVP Orange Content
Developing compelling multiplayer AR games requires latency to be as low as possible, so players feel they are in a shared, responsive experience. With 5G, latency is sub 25 milliseconds, and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) can reduce the round trip connectivity time between players by as much as 10x when compared to 4G. This is a vital component to the evolution of multiplayer augmented reality — and is especially noticeable in Urban Legends when players cast spells on each other or simply point to a fast moving AR opponent that can be seen on all devices simultaneously.
“It is truly exciting to experience how 5G Edge technologies can transform gaming experiences for consumers. The Urban Legends AR demo with Niantic and Orange at MWC21 is a fantastic showcase of how developers are harnessing the throughput, latency, and capacity of Telco Edge Cloud Networks to provide experiences that would not have been possible in previous generations. Through our Operator Platform workstream, the GSMA is excited to continue working alongside Niantic, our Operator members, and the wider ecosystem to ensure that developers and content creators can seamlessly launch their products and services globally.” - Alex Sinclair, CTO, GSMA
In the months to come, we’ll make the Urban Legends demo available at select of our partner retail stores, to gain real player feedback and further advance learnings around platform optimization across the various network frequencies and Mobile Edge Computing providers around the world. Ultimately, our goal is to introduce these types of AR mechanics and capabilities into our core games and within the Niantic Lightship platform to accelerate the development of even more innovative 5G AR experiences.
At Niantic, we envision a world where our explorers can have a truly immersive experience on AR-capable mobile devices. The deployment of Urban Legends with our telco partners brings us one step closer to achieving this vision.
-Alex Rodriguez, Global Head of Telco Partnerships