Niantic CEO teases possible augmented reality glasses

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Niantic, the creator of Pokémon Go and other augmented reality games, has always been exploring how to enhance AR gaming. While they previously said that they have no plans in creating its own hardware, it seems that their CEO, John Hanke, is teasing something over on his Twitter account. The picture he posted looks pretty much like a set of digital eyewear and it carries Niantic branding. But whether this is an actual product that they are developing or it’s just a reference design remains to be seen.

Hanke tweeted a photo of what seems to be eyewear with lens visible and a plastic and fabric arm and a strap attached. There’s also a speaker and/or microphone grille shown and the Niantic branding along the side. The caption reads, “Exciting to see the progress we’re making to enable new kinds of devices that leverage our platform…”. It’s a bit of a mystery if this is a real product or just a reference design as last year, there were no plans to create their own hardware.

Around 2019, Niantic and Qualcomm took the stage together to discuss plans for an augmented reality headset using the XR2 Platform of Snapdragon. But later on, Niantic COO megan Quinn said that this is more of a reference design rather than an actual product that they’re developing. This is a common way for game developers and hardware designers to show what they’re thinking of design-wise and a sort-of shortcut for manufacturers. So this may be what Hanke was teasing.

It’s the company’s vision to bring the Niantic Real World Platform to both the possible AR hardware that will be developed for it and to third-party AR devices as well. The platform consists of their main games Ingress, Pokémon Go, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite as well as the related social and mapping data. Businesses and individual players can add new locations to the database and it can be integrated into some AR features.

How the AR glasses could integrate with the games and the Niantic Real World Platform remains to be seen. Well, in fact, we don’t know what it is exactly that Niantic is teasing right now so we’ll have to wait for the next move.

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