Niantic acquires WebAR dev platform 8th Wall

Niantic said it has acquired 8th Wall, a maker of a WebAR-based augmented reality development platform.

The deal is the biggest one to date for Niantic, and 8th Wall’s team of 34 people will join Niantic’s 900-plus team. Niantic is the publisher of Pokemon Go and other mobile games that take advantage of location and AR technologies.

The company said the acquisition expands the AR opportunity for developers and brands with web-based tools for creating experiences that work on mobile devices — with no app required. Niantic hopes to use AR tech to build the real world metaverse, which marries digital worlds with physical locations.

8th Wall will empower more Niantic’s Lightship developer platform to enable devs to realize their visions for AR in the real-world metaverse. Niantic recently raised $300 million from investor Coatue at a $9 billion valuation as it aims to build the real-world metaverse.

8th Wall is making it easy to create AR for the web.
8th Wall is making it easy to create AR for the web.

From the beginning, Niantic set out to build AR technology that enables people to connect to others, discover new places, and play with friends in the real world. To make this happen, the company is fusing the physical and the digital by creating the world’s most precise 3D map of the planet.

With the Lightship platform, launched globally in November last year, Niantic offers developers the world’s largest immersive canvas to bring their creations to life on a massive scale. 8th Wall complements the vision for Lightship, and Niantic plans to expand the Lightship developer platform tools with their proven WebAR technology.

From 2017 through 2021, Niantic bought 10 companies including Evertoon, Escher Reality, Matrix Mill, Seismic Games, Sensible Object, 6D.ai, Mayhem, Scaniverse, Hoss, and Lowkey.

Since 2018, the 8th Wall WebAR development platform has been used by developers to create over 50,000 experiences, including thousands for top-tier brands.

8th Wall supports billions of devices globally including five billion smartphones across iOS and Android as well as computers and AR/VR headsets. The 8th Wall platform has been used by agencies and creative studios to create AR activations for well-known brands from companies across industry verticals, including Pepsi, Microsoft, Nike, Porsche, Netflix, Heineken, LEGO, General Mills, Dior, Universal Pictures, Westfield, Verizon and more. Many of these experiences are featured on the 8th Wall Discovery Hub.

Niantic said that, as the way people experience AR continues to evolve, it will create planet-scale platform technologies for more shared experiences grounded in the real-world.

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