The recent investment of US$300 million made by investment firm Coatue in the developer Niantic unveiled a new company project: an augmented reality system to create a “metaverse to the real world”. Niantic has experience in the subject: it is responsible for Pokemon Go, one of the most successful augmented reality games in history.
The announcement was made by Matt Mazzeo, general partner of Coatue, when making the investment official, on Monday (22). “Niantic is building an augmented reality platform based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition to computing,” he said.
According to Mazzeo, this infrastructure will support “a metaverse to the real world, […] helping to drive the next evolution of the Internet.”
The news comes just weeks after Facebook announced the company’s name change to Meta, repositioning it to create its own metaverse – a new form of immersive online interaction that would blur the lines between social media, gamification and virtual reality or increased.
But, according to statements by Niantic CEO John Hanke, Niantic seems to be heading in the opposite direction, more akin to the hit Pokémon Go, which made many gamers leave their homes to explore the real world.
“At Niantic, we believe that humans are happier when their virtual world takes them to a physical world. Unlike a science fiction metaverse, a real world metaverse will use technology to enhance our experience of the world as we’ve known it for thousands years,” he said.
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