‘Pokémon Go’ Developer Niantic Acquires 3D Scanning App

With plans to build a real-world game board.

Gaming
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Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, has acquired a 3D scanning app called Scaniverse, the company shared today. The purchase comes as part of the game developer’s plan to expand into augmented reality hardware and software.

Niantic’s vision for its AR experiences includes a “dynamic spatial map of the world rendered from 3D scanned locations,” said Kjell Bronder, AR Group Product Manager, in the announcement. The developer has already begun crowdsourcing images from notable Wayspots — in-game sites of interaction for Pokémon Go players — including the Gandhi sculpture in San Francisco and Maneki-Neko shrine in the Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo.

Scaniverse enables users to document, edit and share 3D content via a smartphone. The app’s addition to Niantic will contribute to making its “multi-OS scanning easier and more accessible” for future endeavors. The app’s creator Keith Ito will be joining Niantic’s AR team as part of the deal.

The purchase of Scaniverse follows the company’s acquisition of 3D creation and publishing platform Sketchlab, in addition to last year’s acquisition of 6D.ai, a company that builds 3D world maps for AR experiences.

Gearing up to build a real-world gameboard, the developer also appears to have some gadgets in the works. Niantic CEO John Hanke teased a prototype of AR glasses on Twitter in March, writing that it was “exciting to see the progress we’re making to enable new kinds of devices that leverage our platform.”

Niantic has positioned itself to make major moves in the 3D mapping space, with Pokémon Go at the forefront of AR content integration.

In other gaming news, Axie Infinity is the first NFT game to hit $1 billion in sales.

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