Pokémon Move founder Niantic Labs is partnering with Punchdrunk, the UK-based manufacturing company behind seminal immersive theater bit Sleep No More. The venture will see both companies work toward”developing multiple jobs which will reinvent storytelling for a 21st century audience and further extend the horizon of interactive entertainment.”
Sleep No More, launched in its present iteration in New York City back in 2011, is a landmark immersive theater production that lets audiences walk through a collection of rooms and encounter different storylines along with other elements of the production in their own pace. Influenced in part by haunted homes and other nonlinear live productions theater seems like a prime fit for augmented reality because it could allow for Niantic and companies like Punchdrunk to make virtual worlds that are overlaid over real spaces.
“It is hugely exciting to be joining forces with the preeminent AR company in the world. At Punchdrunk we produce richly cinematic 3D worlds where viewers can explore, touch and smell the environment; where the boundaries between reality and fantasy are all equal,” Felix Barrett, Punchdrunk’s artistic director, said in a statement. “Those that have seen Sleep No More often liken the experience to how it may feel to walk into a video game. What happens in the event that you take that sense of adventure into the real world? Tear the walls down and the world becomes your point. “
Niantic offered a few more upgrades to its present manufacturing pipeline, also. The company is still working on the cellular AR adaptation of popular board game Catan called Catan: World Explorers. The game has been built on top of Niantic’s Real World Platform in partnership with the company supporting the board game and French game publisher Asmodee. Niantic now claims that the game will enter a beta phase”very soon.”
Niantic also says it’s building”new kinds of gaming” for both smartphones and AR glasses, even though the company didn’t elaborate on what headsets by which companies it may be building for. “Presently we have more than 10 new games in development such as prototypes such as AR wearables, each with distinctive and innovative gameplay, based around outdoor exploration, movement and social interaction,” the company states.
In December 2019, Qualcomm announced it was working together with Niantic to a smart glasses reference design as part of the chipmaker’s Snapdragon XR2 platform. And back in 2017, when support for Apple’s ARKit had been first added to Pokémon Go, Niantic strongly suggested it was working with Apple on adventures that could arrive for your iPhone maker’s not-yet-announced but rumored AR eyeglasses .