Pokémon GO Developer Niantic Releases New AR Development Kit for iOS and Android

Image: Niantic

Niantic, Inc., the developer behind renowned Augmented Reality (AR) mobile games Pokémon GO and Ingress, has announced the Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit — a set of tools based on the same technology as Niantic’s hit AR titles, for iOS and Android developers.

Niantic says the Lightship platform is meant to empower “developers to build their visions for the Real-World Metaverse.” At least Meta (or are we still calling it Facebook?) isn’t the only one striving to build the “metaverse”. 

The company, which put itself on the map after Pokémon GO took the world by storm and became a global phenomenon in 2016, says the first set of Lightship Developer Kit tools is already live, and developers from all over the world can get them at Lightship.dev.

“Today, we’re announcing the general availability of the first set of augmented reality tools from the Niantic Lightship platform, enabling developers across the world to realize their visions for augmented reality and the Real-World Metaverse,” said Niantic in a blog post on Monday.

iOS developers can use Niantic’s Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit, or ARDK, to create Augmented Reality experiences from scratch.

The ARDK brings functionality that Niantic used to create Pokémon GO, including ‘Meshing’ — the ability to scan and map physical locations for AR uses, Semantic Segmentation, which ensures that digital constructs interact naturally with the real world, an intelligent visual positioning system, and support for multiplayer experiences.

Pokémon GO became the biggest game on the App Store almost instantly after it launched. Could Niantic opening up the Lightship ARDK and its development tools to the public lead us to the next Pokémon GO? The Developer Kit is also available for Android.

Niantic Ventures has also pledged $20 million USD in investments for companies working on AR experiences and on furthering the creation of a ‘Metaverse’.

“With an initial $20 million fund, Niantic Ventures will invest in companies building applications that share our vision for the Real-World Metaverse and contribute to the global ecosystem we are building,” the company said.

To learn more about Niantic’s Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit and check out demos, head over to their website.