If successful, The Metaverse will pull individuals away from the real world and into complete virtualisation. The true goal of a Metaverse involves immersing humanity inside virtual, rendered environments. Pokémon Go developer Niantic doesn't want that, but it does want something similar.
Niantic's goal isn't to steal people from the real world and put them in the world of Pokémon. Instead, the augmented reality game developer wants to bring the beloved JRPG world into the real world.
Niantic is building an AR Metaverse with Pokémon Go
Speaking to The Verge, Niantic CEO John Hanke explained that the company's Lightship platform will be integral to the next generation of games. The augmented reality platform will be integral to realistically moving games into the real world.
Hanke explains that Lightship will create “real-world metaverse” apps with “planet-scale AR” capabilities. Compatible with AR glasses, Lightship can map augmented aspects into real world views based on a user’s camera.
Powered by an all-new “visual positioning system”, AR objects can be persistent in augmented reality. For example, your favourite Pokémon can walk beside you without phasing through nearby objects like bins or lampposts.
Lightship AR will support Android and iOS
An important aspect of bringing Lightship to market is to make sure nobody is left behind. As Pokémon Go is one of the biggest mobile games of all time, it’s important that Niantic keeps everyone involved.
With Facebook's big plan for The Metaverse, it's still not known how the general public will access the platform. Virtual, augmented and mixed reality are all supported, but what devices can be used? That's still vague.
For Niantic, it's important that Android and iOS users can access their future. Not only does it allow the future of AR to stay anchored to realistic tech and accessibility standards, but it also becomes more viable for developers.
Hanke said: “The state of the world today is sort of 50/50 between Android and iOS. And I think it’s going to be much more diversified in the world of AR glasses. So a solution that actually solves the developer problem of being able to write something and create something that’s going to work across multiple platforms is really important.”
Is the metaverse a dystopia?
Niantic CEO John Hanke has called Facebook's idea of an all-encompassing metaverse a “dystopian nightmare”. However, Hanke is still working on creating software for a metaverse future. Hanke believes that transferring everyone into VR is fan dangerous, but enhancing the real world with AR isn't.
There’s a fork in the road. One path goes in this direction of apps that are not connected to the world around us and not helping us connect with the people who we are around. [The other is] “encouraging people to do things together with other folks who are alive.”