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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Niantic Plans Next Hit After ‘Pokémon Go’

  • Niantic, creators of Pokémon Go, announced a deal with Hasbro Inc.
  • The company is developing its next blockbuster hit, "Transformers: Heavy Metal."
Niantic/Design: Alex Brooks

Niantic, the software development company behind augmented reality gaming hit “Pokémon Go,” is changing its gameplan. 

The company — founded as an internal Google startup in 2010 before going independent in 2015 — announced a deal with Hasbro to develop its next mobile blockbuster, “Transformers: Heavy Metal.”

“In thinking about franchises that would be incredible to bring to life in AR, ‘Transformers’ was a no-brainer,” said Niantic executive producer Phil Hong. 

Released in 2016 and available on iOS and Android devices, “Pokémon Go” generated $207 million in revenue in its first month despite a staggered launch. Japan didn’t have its hands on the game until two weeks after its general release. 

“Pokémon Go” helped Niantic surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2020. The game accounted for about 85% of the $1.5 billion in revenue generated from AR games that year, according to Omdia.

Since the start of the year, Niantic has made a strong effort to diversify its business: 

  • Acquired Mayhem, a social gaming community platform, in January for an undisclosed amount. 
  • Teamed up with Verizon the same month to develop multiplayer AR experiences using 5G networks. 
  • Partnered with Nintendo in March to create mobile games using AR technology.

“Transformers: Heavy Metal” will launch globally later this year. Niantic hopes the title will offset its reliance on “Pokémon Go.”

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