San Francisco (dpa-AFX) – The makers of the popular smartphone game “Pokémon Go” have launched their own social network for their app users. With “Campfire” (campfire), players can, among other things, view their location on the map and arrange events, developer Niantic announced Tuesday. While the service will initially be available for games developed by Niantic, developers who base their apps on the Niantic technology platform will also benefit later.
Launched in 2016, “Pokémon Go” has players chase small animated monsters with their smartphones, leading to a boom in apps that integrate digital content into real on-screen environments. This is referred to as “Augmented Reality” (AR).
Niantic CEO John Hanke sees the technology as an alternative to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s concept of a virtual “Metaverse” world. “We want to use technology to add some magic to the world,” Hanke said on Tuesday. “We don’t want to get in the way of that, the world is a wonderful place.” Hanke hopes to have augmented reality glasses that display digital content directly into the user’s field of view.
Niantic is expanding its in-house AR technology with the ability to locate a user at a location down to a centimeter. This is made possible with scans of the surroundings and 3D models, so that the camera can recognize where the smartphone is at the moment. Technology must be used to more accurately adapt and interact with superimposed digital objects to their surroundings. Virtual objects can also be displayed in exactly the same place in applications for multiple users. The feature is initially available in locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, London and Tokyo and is expected to expand to more than 100 cities worldwide by the end of the year.
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