Niantic transcends Discord to create Campfire, an AR social app, and unveils Lightship VPS – TechCrunch

Since Pokémon Go launched in 2016, players have been coordinating encounters, in-game raids, and battles on platforms like Reddit and Discord. This summer, parent company Niantic is unveiling Campfire, a social app designed to help mobile augmented reality (AR) gamers connect.

Niantic’s games inspire people to use their technology to get out and meet others – which is why it calls its AR development the “real-world metaverse”. Campfire wants to make this even easier (or offer an alternative to long-running Pokémon Go Discord servers) and is meant to be the “homepage” for this slice of techno-reality. Following in Snapchat’s footsteps as a map-based social platform, the app also includes the ability to connect with people, find nearby events, join communities, and message people. . Users can also share their location with friends (don’t share with strangers!).

The are the Niantic video game communities that to have already been shape everything approximately the world, with tens of thousands of enthusiastic explorers. these local groups already exist,” CEO John Hanke said in a keynote at Niantic’s Lightship Summit. “Wbefore giving them a Platform for better conduct their activities andfor players for to find these groups. Fundamentally, only provide some tools for Craft everything this more smooth and Easier for these users.”

Picture credits: Niantic

The next step in its mission to build the “real-world metaverse,” Campfire is part of a new slate of AR products unveiled today, including Niantic’s much-hyped Lightship VPS, or Virtual Positioning System.

For years, Niantic has encouraged Pokémon Go and Ingress users to scan local landmarks, even offering in-game incentives for that crowdsourced data. Then these short video clips of real places are validated by the developers, which are then processed to become part of the AR map of the world. During the launch, Niantic’s product manager for mapping, Tory Smith, said San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Tokyo are the most densely mapped. By the end of the year, Lightship VPS will be available in more than 100 cities around the world. With the help of Niantic’s recent acquisition of 8th Wall, these features will also be available in mobile web browsers.

With Lightship VPS, if a user scans their location, the VPS can determine where they are, almost like a GPS (which the product name nods to). Sure, GPS shows you where you are and what’s around you, but VPS adds another layer, showing you user-generated experiences designed to enhance your experience in the real world.

Lightship VPS functionality will now be available to AR developers through Niantic’s Lightship AR SDK.

Lance B. Holton