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June 18, 2024
Building the Next Generation Map at Niantic Spotlight on Niantic at AWE USA 2024
  • At AWE, Niantic introduced a new, free-to-use, Web-based visual platform: Niantic Studio, enabling developers, creators and brands to quickly build fully immersive XR experiences, leveraging the ubiquity of the web across virtually any device

  • Niantic also shared an update to Scaniverse, the leading 3D scanning tool, which now includes the fastest on-device processing of Gaussian Splats, allowing anyone to capture and share extremely detailed and high-performing 3D scans

  • Headset experiences took center stage in the Niantic booth, including the recently released Hello Dot for Meta Quest 3 and Skatrix Pro for Apple Vision Pro, alongside the first demo of Niantic’s VPS running on Magic Leap 2

At Augmented World Expo 2024 in Long Beach, CA, Niantic introduced an all new visual editor, Niantic Studio, and showcased updates to tools for scanning real-world objects and locations, blending the virtual and real worlds in a more seamless way than ever before.

To put these new tools and updates in context, Niantic shared its vision for the type of map necessary for the current and future generation of mixed reality devices, moving from 2D wayfinding to immersive 3D experiences, where we move beyond just reading maps to actually entering and experiencing them.

The spatial map will support the ability to create, share and explore together, heads up and hands free

Spatial Computing Needs a New Map
Niantic brings a rich heritage of building maps and location-based experiences. From Keyhole, to Google Earth, to Google Maps, to the first Niantic games, building and leveraging digital maps has been essential to our work. Now with new breakthroughs in how people experience the world through mobile phones and emerging headsets, there is a need for a new type of map – what we call a third generation map. We have many of the core elements already developed and continue to build out others, like the tools to create immersive location-based experiences.

Introducing Niantic Studio: The Future of Web-Based XR and 3D Content Creation
With the announcement of Niantic Studio in public beta, developers now have an entirely new way to build immersive 3D and XR experiences with a highly visual, dynamic interface. Studio offers powerful features that support progressive complexity for more experienced developers, making it possible to build more immersive XR experiences across mobile phones and XR headsets. The new Niantic Studio is FREE to use.

The first release of Niantic Studio includes:

  • Dynamic visual interface: Every tool and feature is just a click away, creating a streamlined workflow in a comprehensive 3D workspace.
  • Seamless integration: Integrate complex features and sophisticated graphic elements like physics, cameras, lighting, animations, particles, audio, and game triggers. Add or adjust assets in 3D space or manipulate scenes in real-time.
  • Powerful web gaming engine: Build interactive XR experiences, 3D web games or prototypes with familiar gaming patterns like entities, components and systems.
  • Editable live play and simulation: Play Mode allows live previews while editing a project that saves automatically to ensure rapid iteration.
  • Extensive reach: ‘Build once, deploy everywhere’ capability supports projects across desktops, mobile phones, and XR headsets with a single build.

Scaniverse Leverages Gaussian Splatting to Make 3D Scanning More Accessible
With the inclusion of Gaussian Splatting as an output option in Scaniverse, Niantic introduced the fastest on-device processing of the volume rendering technique. This breakthrough allows for fast scans of real-world locations and objects that can be shared directly from phones. Available on both iOS and Android, we will continue to expand what’s possible with Scaniverse in the second half of this year.

VPS at the Core of the Map
At the core of the map is Niantic’s Visual Positioning System (VPS), featuring centimeter level precision and the ability for digital content to persist and change based on user behavior. Built by processing millions of scans submitted largely by players of Niantic games, Niantic’s VPS features more than 250,000 high quality VPS locations in high people-traffic areas, with concentrations in key urban settings to allow for continuous experiences. In recent months, the Niantic mapping team has improved and accelerated the pipeline system to allow for several thousand new locations to be added to the map every day, and we are on track to reach 1 million locations in 2024.

Living in the Future of Spatial Computing Hardware
The growth of headsets supporting spatial computing and mixed reality experiences allows us to live in the future for both consumer and enterprise uses:

  • Meta Quest 3: “Hello Dot” is a mixed reality experience based on Niantic’s Peridot, which recently made its debut in the Meta Quest App Lab.
  • Apple Vision Pro: Earlier this month, Niantic partner Reality Crisis released their latest update to Skatrix Pro for Apple Vision Pro. The new experience breaks free of the floating skatepark in Apple Vision Pro to allow the skater to use any surface in the room, from chairs and tables to whatever edges there are to grind.
  • Magic Leap 2: At AWE, we shared the first demo of Niantic’s VPS running in Magic Leap 2. Developers can sign up for the private beta featuring the full ARDK software development kit.

Coming Soon
In the second half of 2024, Niantic will release new updates to Scaniverse, Niantic Studio, VPS and our map, as well as new content and tools. Join us on this journey by visiting the Niantic booth at AWE to see the future of AR and spatial computing first hand, and download the first version of Niantic Studio here.

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