At Niantic we strive to create real world games and augmented reality experiences that enrich players’ connection with their local communities, neighborhoods and the real world. Over the past month, we had the privilege of working with our partners to host three incredible events that demonstrated how AR technology and real world games can be used to bring communities together and be a force for good.
In Boston, we partnered with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and the city of Boston to host AR Stories Hack Day, a Pokémon GO hack-a-thon commemorating Boston’s Dudley Square neighborhood. Students from schools across the Boston public school system and from all different backgrounds came together to explore historic locations in Dudley Square and re-write existing PokéStop and Gym descriptions in a more meaningful way that better represents the rich history of their local community.
The results speak for themselves as students collaborated to learn more about their local surroundings, all while seeing their hard work and research be integrated into the game.
In Philadelphia, we worked with the Knight Foundation and the City of Philadelphia to overlay Pokémon GO into their annual Philly Free Streets event. Participants were able to walk and bike the blocked off streets, play Pokémon GO together and learn about the unique history of the local landmarks through a special PokéStop-integrated scavenger hunt. It was a joy to witness players and families of all ages and backgrounds out and about and engaging with the incredible history of their local community.
Earlier this month in Houston, we collaborated with GoRuck and invited players to participate in a combined Ingress gameplay, scavenger hunt, and community service event we call Operation Clear Field. More than 140 Ingress players come together to help clean up an old cemetery devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Together they cleaned up enough debris in 3 hours to equate to 6 months of work for the one caretaker on the property bringing the cemetery back to it’s original beauty.
In addition to the clean up in Houston, players collected donations and we contributed all proceeds from our event sales to the Houston Food Bank to help feed those still displaced. Since the original Operation Clear Field, we’ve raised over $60,000 for the National Park Foundation, organized more than 100 donation drives, and given back to areas impacted by natural disasters.
It’s inspiring to see our players join together in the name of discovery and community service. The events in Boston, Philadelphia and Houston show how the power of real world games and working together with our local communities, can collectively be a force for good.
We look forward to seeing what our player community accomplishes together next.