Niantic, Inc.

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Niantic, Inc.
Formerly called
Niantic Labs @ Google or simply Niantic Labs
Industry Mobile applications, mobile games, alternate reality games
Founded 2010 (2010)
Founder John Hanke
Headquarters San Francisco, U.S.
Key people
John Hanke (CEO)
Products Ingress, Field Trip, Endgame, Pokémon GO

Niantic, Inc. is a software development company best known for the augmented reality mobile games Ingress[1][2] and upcoming Pokémon GO. It was formed by Keyhole, Inc. founder John Hanke in 2010 as Niantic Labs, an internal startup at Google.[2] It became an independent entity in August 2015, soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc.[3][4][5][6]

The company takes its name from the whaling vessel Niantic, which came to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush.[2][7] The fictional in-game investigative project that provides the narrative premise for Ingress is similarly named The Niantic Project.

Niantic's first product, published in 2012, was Field Trip, a location-based Android app. The 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 second game, Endgame, is a transmedia storytelling project consisting of an alternate reality game, Endgame: Ancient Truth, novels by James Frey starting with Endgame: The Calling, and a mobile app, Endgame: Proving Ground.[1][8][9][10]

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.[11] Existing partners, marketed through the narrative of Ingress rather than direct marketing techniques, include Hint Water, Vodafone, Motorola, AXA, SoftBank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and Ito En.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

In September 2015, it was announced that Niantic is co-developing Pokémon GO with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for iOS and Android.[19] The following month, Niantic announced Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest $20 million in it to support the growth of the company and its products.[20]


  1. ^ a b Frank, Blair Hanley. "Google’s Niantic Labs merges another virtual world with reality in upcoming game". Geek Wire. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Markowitz, Eric (20 December 2012). "Exclusive: Inside the Mind of Google's Greatest Idea Man, John Hanke". Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Kessler, Sarah. "Can A Startup Live Inside Google? Niantic Labs, Creators Of Field Trip And "Ingress" Try". Fast Company. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ Olanoff, Drew (12 August 2015). "Niantic Labs, Maker Of Ingress, Spun Out Of Google As Its Own Company". Tech Crunch. 
  5. ^ Groden, Claire (13 August 2015). "Google's internal start-up Niantic Labs spins off". Fortune. 
  6. ^ Ingress. "Important Account Information: Niantic Labs is becoming an independent company...". Ingress Google+ page. Google. Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ Upbin, Bruce. "The Niantic Project: What Is Google Up To?". Forbes. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Rosenblatt, Seth Google's Niantic follows Ingress with Endgame Cnet retrieved 9th Sept 2014
  9. ^ Takahashi, Dean (17 December 2014). "Google’s Niantic Labs embarks on a giant interactive transmedia project with controversial author James Frey". Venture Beat. 
  10. ^ Robertson, Adi (28 July 2014). "Google is helping James Frey build a multimedia sci-fi juggernaut". The Verge. 
  11. ^ Newton, Casey (13 December 2013). "The everywhere arcade: How Google is turning location into a game platform". The Verge. 
  12. ^ Holly, Russell (25 February 2013). "Google makes Ingress codes available through HINT water partnership". GEEK. 
  13. ^ Hanke, John (19 August 2013). "Vodofone Germany Announcement". John Hanke Google+ Page. 
  14. ^ Niantic Labs, Inc. (1 August 2013). "Ultra Strike Weapon Revealed - INGRESS REPORT - EP19". Ingress Youtube Page. 
  15. ^ AXA Financial, Inc. (16 December 2014). "AXA and Google's Niantic Labs Partner to Integrate 20,000 Global Retail Agencies into Ingress' Interactive'Real World' Mobile Gameplay Experience". AXA Press Release. 
  16. ^ Softbank Group, Corp. (27 July 2015). "ソフトバンクショップがIngressに登場!". Softbank Press Release. 
  17. ^ The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (20 June 2015). "BTMU announces a partnership with "Ingress", using its vast network of branches and ATMs as portals in Japan!". MUFG Press Release. 
  18. ^ Ito En, Ltd. (31 July 2015). "スマートフォン用モバイルゲームアプリ「Ingress」(※)とコラボレーション". ITO EN Press Release. 
  19. ^ Pokémon GO Press Conference. YouTube. 10 September 2015. 
  20. ^ McWhertor, Michael (October 15, 2015). "Nintendo, Google and Pokémon Company invest $20M in Pokémon Go developer". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 

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