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At GamesBeat, Niantic chief predicts sci-fi future.
Niantic chief John Hanke is a big science fiction fan. And he’s looking forward to beholding a Matrix world, inspired by his favorite book, Neuromancer.
Speaking at GamesBeat on Monday, Hanke spoke of his ambitions for augmented reality and gaming. Niantic is best known for its work on global hit Pokémon Go.
The session, moderated by sci-fi author Eliot Peper, focused on how science fiction inspires today’s communications and entertainment creators.
“Sci-fi is a great source of inspiration and ideas,” Hanke said, adding that he read William Gibson’s book about a cyber-centric future when he first embarked on his career in the early internet. “It was predicting the future of the industry I was working in.”
Having helped create augmented reality hit Pokémon Go, Hanke said he’s “investing heavily in the AR cloud.” The AR cloud is a much-vaunted geo-computing future in which shared augmented reality experiences are tied to specific locations. In essence, it’s a vastly expanded version of Pokémon Go.
Hanke asked the audience to imagine going to a coffee shop, sitting down at a table, and being joined by an AR quest-giver. These virtual characters are shared, but they might give different quests to different people. In the AR cloud, a digital world overlays the real world.
Hanke predicted that games will be at the leading edge of the AR cloud.
“It feels really natural,” he said. “Gamers are willing to put up with some glitches and imperfections in new technologies, which makes gaming a great frontier to try new ideas.”