|Niantic Labs @ Google or simply Niantic Labs|
|Industry||Mobile applications, mobile games, alternate reality games|
|Founded||2010(as Niantic Labs)|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Products||Ingress, Field Trip, Endgame, Pokémon Go|
Niantic's systems use high throughput real-time geospatial querying and indexing techniques to process more than 200 million game actions per day as people interact with real and virtual objects in the physical world.
The company was formed in 2010 by Keyhole, Inc. founder John Hanke as Niantic Labs, an internal startup within Google. The company took its name from the whaling vessel Niantic, which came to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. The fictional in-game investigative project that provides the narrative premise for Ingress is similarly named The Niantic Project.
Field Trip and Ingress
Their first augmented reality mobile game Ingress followed in November 2012 as an invite-only Android app. It was opened to the public in October 2013 and an iOS version was released in July 2014. Niantic's next announced mobile game, Endgame, "is" (unreleased) a transmedia storytelling project consisting of an alternate reality game, Endgame: Ancient Truth, novels by James Frey starting with Endgame: The Calling, and the mobile app, Endgame: Proving Ground.
Initially, Niantic had taken an alternative approach to monetization, veering away from more traditional mobile application development standards such as ad placements and in-app purchases. However, following the split with Google in 2015, in-app purchasing was implemented for Ingress. Founder and CEO John Hanke has noted that Ingress is a sort of proof of concept, adding that a next step could involve packaging application programming interfaces (APIs) from the Ingress application in order to entice developers. Existing partners, marketed through the narrative of Ingress rather than direct marketing techniques, include Hint Water, Vodafone, Motorola, AXA, SoftBank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Lawson (store) and Ito En.
Spinoff from Google and investments
The company spun out of Google in October 2015, soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc. During the spinout, Niantic announced that Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest up to $30 million ($20 million upfront with an additional $10 million conditioned upon the company achieving certain milestones) in it to support the growth of the company and its products. In February 2016, Niantic announced that it secured an additional $5 million in Series A funding including investment from venture capital firms Alsop Louie Partners and You & Mr. Jones Brandtech Ventures as well as angel investors Lucas Nealan, Cyan Banister and Scott Banister. While adding more support for the growth of the company, this investment enabled Niantic to bring in strategic industry pioneers including the addition of Gilman Louie to its board.
In September 2015, it was announced that Niantic was developing and publishing Pokémon Go in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for iOS and Android. Niantic published Pokémon Go in most regions of the world on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store in July 2016, with a small wearable device called the Pokémon Go Plus, developed by Nintendo, set to be released in September 2016. Following its initial launch in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, Pokémon Go became an overnight global phenomenon, significantly increasing the use and visibility of augmented reality technology. In addition to topping app store charts in most regions for top-free app and top-grossing app, Apple Inc. announced that Pokémon Go became the most downloaded app in a first week ever. Reports indicate that users are spending more time on Pokémon Go than on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tinder, and Instagram. Just shy of a month post-launch, Pokémon Go has reportedly been downloaded more than 100 million times with daily revenues exceeding $10 million according to app analytics firm App Annie.
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