Blog
November 20, 2020
Our Evolving Approach to COVID-19 Changes in Pokémon GO

Dear Niantic Explorers,

As some parts of the world return to lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’d like to share our thoughts on how and why we’re continuing to make adjustments to the play experience in Pokémon GO.

First, we hope that you are staying well during this challenging time. In March, we shared our initial approach in response to COVID-19, and we want to acknowledge how the situation around the world has changed quite a bit since then. Some countries and regions have improved substantially, while others are re-entering various degrees of lockdown because of spiking infection rates.

We’re constantly monitoring the situation and want to provide the best experience possible for Trainers. As such, we want to continue to make changes to Pokémon GO that balance the original intent of the game (to enable people to explore, exercise and engage with each other socially) with the realities of the situation the pandemic has caused.

Yesterday, we updated Pokémon GO’s temporary bonuses globally, and announced that we’ll be keeping them in place through at least June 2021. Furthermore, we’ll be giving you at least a month’s notice before the bonuses are ended. You can read about those specifics here. These changes are designed to allow Trainers to continue to enjoy the core components of Pokémon GO. We don’t want you to miss out on any of the exciting additions coming to Pokémon GO, but we also want to stay true to the nature of what Pokémon GO is designed to be.

As always, we encourage you to be aware of your surroundings and follow guidelines from local health authorities when playing Pokémon GO. Where safe, Pokémon GO can be an engaging way to enjoy outdoor exercise. Socially-distanced exercise, such as walking outdoors, is encouraged by several global and national health organizations, including the WHO and CDC. As with all of our evolving adjustments this year, we hope that these recent changes will make it that much easier for you to enjoy Pokémon GO during these challenging times.

We thank you for reading, for playing and for sharing your thoughts and feedback with us. As always, we welcome your feedback on these changes.

–The Pokémon GO team

November 10, 2020
Mapping Reality: Building the Future of AR

At the recent WSJ Tech Live conference, Niantic CEO and founder John Hanke unveiled advancements made in the building a 3D map of the world including machine learning technology, which contextualizes objects and materials - think water, sky, buildings, ground - in real-time.

At Niantic, we’re building the Niantic Real World Platform to power AR experiences that function on all types of mobile hardware, whether it’s last year’s phone, today’s iPhone 12 Pro with LiDAR or the wearable devices of the future. Our platform leverages the processing power and cameras of smart devices, and uses proprietary advanced machine learning and computer vision to understand the physical world in real-time. In short, the better the sensors, the more AR software can deliver; whether it’s working in the dark or having better 3D dynamic recognition of moving objects. In the meantime, our team is also working to make AR appear more realistic across all devices and sensors.

And, as John showcased, we’re combining the depth perception with the understanding of what those objects are in a physical space. With a semantic understanding of 3D environments, we have the ability to inform our characters of the world we live in. This allows them to understand the contours of their environments. It allows us to form relatable bonds with them as we take one step closer to truly augmenting reality.

Here’s a look at the recent integration of this technology on the Niantic Real World Platform. This video shows how we have integrated the 6D.ai technology into our platform to build a 3D dynamic map of the world that is shared across devices and can be built concurrently by multiple players.

The Niantic Real World Platform provides a real-time 3D mapping capabilities and object recognition to build experiences where digital characters can intelligently navigate the world around them.

Over the last few weeks we've seen announcements that will bring the benefits of 3D reconstruction and mapping to consumers. The adoption of LiDAR will enhance AR experiences on high-end iPhones, and thanks to 3D reconstruction software, we're starting to see the results of devices being able to spatially understand the areas around us. Everyone in the AR market benefits from this rising tide of technology, and the introduction of better 3D visualization to consumers and businesses is another step closer to wider AR adoption.

What does this all mean?

For an end user, the result is an evolution of interactive experiences that feature seamless convergence between atoms (of the real-world) with the bits (of the digital world).

As a developer building in the AR space, our focus is on offering AR technology across platforms, making it easier for AR creators to get their experiences to their customers without having to worry about which device or platform they are on. Our ultimate goal is to allow developers to build diverse types of AR experiences across all current and future devices.

We see this global map as the backbone of the new and innovative experiences that will ultimately enhance how we interact with, discover and enjoy the real-world with others.

–The Niantic AR team

October 27, 2020
7-Eleven Mexico Partnership Highlights: Transactional uplift and Copa Aventura

Niantic

The Pokémon GO Sponsored Locations program can transform select partner stores into Pokéstops or Gyms. On July 11, 2020, our Sponsored Locations partner 7-Eleven Mexico held an invitational Pokémon GO remote tournament called the Copa Aventura Invitacional as part of the celebrations for 7-Eleven Day (7/11). This one-of-a-kind event was planned and operated by 7-Eleven with the cooperation of Niantic. Featuring top players and influencers from five different countries, it was livestreamed on Twitch with groundbreaking results:

  • Largest Pokémon GO tournament livestream ever: Over 237,000 viewers tuned in throughout the livestream, which featured over five hours of Trainer Battle–focused content, with over 20,000 peak concurrent viewers and over 10,000 average concurrent viewers.
  • Value and purchase driver for the partner: Two lucky players who registered an eligible purchase in the 7-Eleven app were randomly selected to join the list of invited players. The event also created a significant presence on Twitch for the brand, whose account leapt from zero to about 7,900 followers in a single day.
  • Performance boost in Latin America: New Pokémon GO account creation reached a peak year-to-date high in Mexico, and engagement across social media was extremely high.

When we announced our alliance with 7-Eleven Mexico on January 29, we knew we were going to have an amazing adventure. With this Pokémon GO sponsorship, the first of its kind in Latin America, we had no doubt that Trainers in Mexico would be as excited as we were for all the surprises this partnership would bring to 7-Eleven stores. But even we were astounded by the overwhelmingly positive response and the way players embraced this partnership—welcoming 7-Eleven Mexico not just as a sponsor of their game, but as a part of their community.

So far, the partnership with 7-Eleven Mexico has delivered amazing results through initiatives that bring value to the company, to our games, and to our players in Mexico. On February 27, as part of the celebrations for Pokémon Day, 7-Eleven Mexico executed an incredible store take-over in its flagship location in Monterrey. This particular collaboration featured a scheduled Legendary Raid, Pokémon GO–themed decorations, a Trainer Battle tournament, and an influencer meet-and-greet, with over 2,000 players in attendance. During this event, the store saw a transaction uplift of over 52%.

Since then, 7-Eleven Mexico and Niantic have continued to collaborate, keeping the momentum going with other Pokémon GO campaigns, like scheduled Raid Weeks, giveaways on social media, GO Snapshot contests, and Trainer Battle tournaments, like the Copa Aventura Invitacional. 7-Eleven Mexico’s particular enthusiasm and investment in customer-centric experiences and our mutual interest in the growth of Pokémon GO in the region have paved the way for 7-Eleven Mexico to develop exclusive campaigns outside of the usual scope of the Sponsored Locations partnership. As a result, hundreds of thousands of fans all over Mexico have enjoyed the benefits of this unique alliance.

Through this partnership, 7-Eleven Mexico has focused on creating new experiences catered to Pokémon GO fans, reaching new communities by taking into account their interests, passions, and hobbies. By bringing people together through amazing experiences and adventures, our partnership is building a community of passionate, diverse, and engaged Trainers, where everyone is welcome.

Besides community building, this partnership has also proven the incredible potential of our Sponsored Locations program to generate foot traffic and drive incremental sales, especially during in-game events.

7-Eleven announced that during the first quarter of this year, the addition of PokéStops and Gyms provided about a 3.9% revenue uplift in its top 30 stores in Mexico, compared to the same period in 2019. In these locations, the transaction uplift was especially high during events such as Community Day (40.1%), Lickitung Raid Day (39.2%), and the first 7-Eleven scheduled Raid Week (32–38%). Whenever there was an in-game event, the average daily unique visit uplift was about 30.7% and the average transaction uplift about 3.6%. This means that on average, every 4.3 player visits to a PokéStop drove one incremental purchase during these periods of high player engagement.

Players in Mexico can look forward to even more exciting events in the future, like the Pokémon GO Special Weekend event we developed and announced recently with 7-Eleven Mexico, which will be the first event of its kind in Latin America. This event will be an exclusive in-game event that Trainers can access using an event ticket that can be obtained only from 7-Eleven Mexico. This event is one of the best cases of an online-to-offline (O2O) experience. Special Weekend events have seen great success since they debuted in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018, so we’re excited to bring one to Latin America in partnership with 7-Eleven Mexico.

Latin America is now the fastest-growing market for Pokémon GO in the world, and through our partnership, 7-Eleven Mexico is changing its communications and marketing strategies in the region. We look forward to continuing our work with 7-Eleven Mexico and building similar success stories with more partners. By focusing on both fans and clients, our game experiences bring value to players and businesses around the world.

–Alan Mandujano, Strategic Partnerships Team