Niantic is in the process of turning concepts based on real-time AR networking into reality with the first multiplayer integration in Pokémon GO called Buddy Adventure (working title).
This new feature is a shared AR experience at its core. The Pokémon GO Buddy Adventure feature will not only allow you to interact with your own Pokémon via the AR camera, it will also provide Trainers with a shared experience of seeing their real world friends interacting with their Buddy Pokemon in real time.
Buddy Adventure is also cross platform, so whether your friends are on an iPhone or Android device, you will still see them when the feature is enabled.
This new multiplayer feature is a step towards the realization and one of the first consumer implementations of multiplayer AR experiences beyond a tabletop.
Trainers worldwide can look forward to Buddy Adventure coming to Pokémon GO in the months ahead.
Niantic is pushing the technological boundaries to enable experiences that haven’t been addressed yet. One illusion-breaking shortcoming of the current state of AR visuals the company is looking to solve is the lack of occlusion, or the ability of your AR subjects to move behind objects, either partially or completely. But there’s more to an AR experience than simply avoiding breaking an illusion - adding the concept of depth allows characters to understand their environment and act more naturally. Occlusion utilizes powerful computer vision where AR elements understand and interact with the real world and objects within them.
Niantic has been working on the implementation of this technology for some time, and announced that it will be coming to the Niantic Real World Platform.
The company has recently begun to open up the Niantic Real World Platform to additional developers to build upon and shared some of the first results. In addition to collaborating with WB Games on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Niantic opened up the platform to developers around the world earlier in the year as part of the Niantic Beyond Reality Developer Contest.
In addition, Niantic will be supporting third party developers via the Niantic Beyond Reality Fund which will help bring AR concepts to life.
Niantic is also opening up its Wayfarer program, which allows users to suggest real-world locations for the community to review and approve for games like Ingress and Pokémon Go, to small businesses. That way, a company can apply to have their locations loaded into Niantic’s Wayfarer database, which adds them to in-game maps as “Sponsored Locations.”