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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

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