Niantic Tapped For GPS-based AR Tourism Games

Niantic Tapped For GPS-based AR Tourism Games
November 22, 2018
(via JESHOOTScom/Pixabay)


Known for augmented reality games Ingress and Pokemon Go, the software developer is partnering with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to foster global travel.


As part of the UNWTO Travel.Enjoy.Respect program, Niantic will curate “unique” campaigns to build awareness of international destinations.


“Our goal at Niantic is to create interactive games that encourage exercise, social interaction, and exploration, giving players the opportunity to play together in the real world and discover the incredible history hidden right in their own neighborhoods,” Anne Beuttenmüller, head of marketing EMEA, wrote in a blog post.


Charged with finding ways to combine tourism and AR technology, Niantic plans to release a number of adventures that encourage players to engage with real-world locations.


Sound familiar?

The company’s first AR title, Ingress, requires users to capture “portals” at places of cultural significance—public art, landmarks, monuments, etc.—and linking them over geographical areas.


Breakout hit Pokemon Go similarly uses GPS to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures that appear in players’ real-world locations.


“Niantic are pioneers in creating real-world mobile game experiences that not only motivate their players to discover new places, but also to appreciate the culture and beauty of the world around them,” according to Ion Vilcu, director of UNWTO’s affiliate members department.


In its as-yet-unnamed game, each activation will aim to inspire and support exploration, build awareness, and promote safe and responsible gameplay practices.


“We’re looking forward to creating brand new adventures for our players in collaboration with UNWTO to increase awareness around their mission of responsible tourism,” Beuttenmüller added.


There is no word on just what folks will be looking for or interacting with—whether there will be artifacts to collect, photos to snap, or some other mechanic altogether.

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