|Niantic Labs @ Google or simply Niantic Labs|
|Industry||Mobile applications, mobile games, alternate reality games|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, U.S.|
|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 and upcoming Pokémon GO. It was formed by Keyhole, Inc. founder John Hanke in 2010 as Niantic Labs, an internal startup at Google. It became an independent entity in August 2015, soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc.
The company takes 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.
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.
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, and Ito En.
In September 2015, it was announced that Niantic is co-developing Pokémon GO with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for iOS and Android. 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.
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