American software firm Niantic, the creator of popular smartphone game Pokémon Go, has reportedly acquired NZXR, an augmented reality (AR) studio based in New Zealand.
NZXR is a studio best known for making AR-first experiences and assisting businesses and brands in creating interactive and engaging prototypes and apps for mobile phones as well as AR headsets.
The startup will be taking up a crucial role in Niantic's ongoing efforts to design and development unique real-world multiplayer AR experiences.
The San Francisco-based company is known for its AR mobile games, such as the global hit Pokémon Go as well as its first AR game Ingress.
Recently, Niantic had teamed up with Nintendo again for the launch of Pikmin Bloom, an AR game based on the Japanese game franchise Pikmin.
NZXR, which has produced software for Qualcomm’s AR headset, has also worked towards developing similar multiplayer AR experiences for mobile. The NZXR team had been working on Magic Leap from Wellington, NZ, and spun out to form the startup during the pandemic.
The startup has worked on other projects and experiences, such as AR skateboarding Skatrix, interactive theatre Destination Mars, as well as multiplayer AR demos amongst others.
Niantic stated that its goal is to create AR experiences that can be enjoyed by millions of people, and wants to continue working on the technology that will power those experiences, along with third-party applications.
In a blog post, Niantic announced the news of the acquisition, adding that the team at NZXR will assist the company in accelerating the development of its various new AR experiences for the real-world metaverse.
For the uninitiated, Niantic, which began as an internal startup within Google and spun out in 2015 after the tech giant restructured to Alphabet Inc., raised $300 million in November 2021 for developing its ‘real-world’ metaverse.
The capital would also be used in expanding its Lightship AR development kit (ARDK) for creating AR experiences. The ARDK, previously called Niantic Real World Platform, powers all of Niantic’s AR mobile games, and is also used by Warner Music Group, Universal Pictures, SoftBank, and Coachella, organizers of the annual music and arts festival in California, USA.