For Niantic, the metaverse will be in augmented reality
Facebook recently announced that it was changing the name of the group (Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp) to Meta in order to offer a virtual reality metaverse. However, Niantic, the company specialising in augmented reality games, does not see the future in the same way.
For Niantic, the future metaverse will be in augmented reality, not virtual reality
As a reminder, Niantic is behind Pokémon Go and Pikmin BloomThe two AR games offered by Nintendo on mobile but also others as you can see on the image below.
For Niantic Labs CEO John Kanke, the virtual reality world that Mark Zuckerberg wants to create is a "dystopian nightmare" and that augmented reality will be much safer for that.
“The future I describe is the one that will take over. The one in which computing is there all the time, while blending in and helping us do what we need to do. This is ubiquitous computing. In our metaverse, unlike the metaverse in VR, there is that structure that the real world brings. Bytes are linked to atoms. And so you have these things that add information to the place you're in and give you useful functionality. For example, you could put a virtual button in the air to buy a bus ticket, or arrows on the pavement that point the way to the underground, or information about the product you're looking at. It's the potential that counts. It is in augmented reality that the real metaverse will emerge"John Kanke explained in an interview with Wired.
Niantic Lightship: a beta version proposed to develop AR experiences
To make this metaverse possible, Niantic wants to make augmented reality accessible to everyone. And to do this, the group has decided to offer the Lightship development kit, which will enable the creation of applications dedicated to immersive augmented reality experiences as well as AR games.
Of course, this kit is very powerful and allows the real environment to be mapped to bring the experience to life.
In addition, Niantic also plans to sell augmented reality glasses to complement its Kit in 2022. These glasses will be able to identify and locate the environment around the person to offer a qualitative experience adapted to human vision. In the future, these glasses will be able to offer an AR interface to recreate a web browser and not just a gadget that integrates augmented reality.
For now, the CEO of Niantic has revealed part of this project by sharing an image of the new glasses.