Niantic Raises US$20 Million for Pokémon GO AR Game
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Entertainment news source Variety reported on Thursday that software development company Niantic (Ingress) has raised US$20 million from The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and Google to develop its Pokémon GO augmented reality smartphone app. Variety added that the three investors will give Niantic another US$10 million upon meeting unspecified performance goals.
Pokémon GO will be available in 2016 for Android phones and iPhones. 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the original Pokémon games.
Players will use the app to be able to find Pokémon in the real world using location-based technology. Nintendo also hopes to let players pay attention to their surroundings instead of just looking at their screens by offering the "Pokémon Go Plus" wristband device (pictured below). The device can also be used as a clip to be clipped onto suit jackets, etc.
The "Pokémon Go Plus" device will have LED and vibration functions that will alert players to something happening in the game. The device uses Bluetooth technology to connect to players' smartphones. Players can still play the game without the device.
Late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had been working with Nintendo to develop the app. Nintendo representative director and senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto also compared the new app to Pokémon Snap in that players will feel as though they are in the same environment as Pokémon, but also mentioned that the difference is allowing players to go out into the real world to catch Pokémon.
The Pokémon Company previously streamed the entire press conference announcing Pokémon GO.
Nintendo had announced in March that it had developed a business alliance with mobile game developer DeNA to create new smartphone games, as opposed to ports of Wii U or Nintendo 3DS games. Serkan Toto, CEO of the Tokyo-based mobile game consulting firm Kantan Games, stated that he asked DeNA about Pokémon GO, and DeNA noted that the game is not the first of the "approximately five titles" that it is developing with Nintendo.