Niantic, Inc.

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Niantic, Inc.
Formerly called
Niantic Labs @ Google or simply Niantic Labs
Industry Mobile applications, mobile games, alternate reality games
Founded 2010; 6 years ago (2010) (as Niantic Labs)
Founder John Hanke
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Key people
  • John Hanke (CEO)
  • Mike Quigley (CMO)
  • Dennis Hwang (art director)
Products Ingress, Field Trip, Endgame, Pokémon Go

Niantic, Inc. is an American software development company based in San Francisco, California best known for developing and publishing the augmented reality mobile games Ingress and Pokémon Go.

The company was formed in 2010 by Keyhole, Inc. founder John Hanke as Niantic Labs, an internal startup within Google, before it was spun out of Google as an independent entity in October 2015.


Niantic's systems use high throughput real-time geospatial querying and indexing techniques to process more than 200 million game actions per day as people interact with real and virtual objects in the physical world.[1]



John Hanke, the founder of Niantic, Inc.

The company was formed in 2010 by Keyhole, Inc. founder John Hanke as Niantic Labs, an internal startup within Google.[2] The company took its name from the whaling vessel Niantic, which came to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush.[2] The fictional in-game investigative project that provides the narrative premise for Ingress is similarly named The Niantic Project.

Field Trip and Ingress[edit]

Niantic's first product, published in 2012, was Field Trip, a location-based mobile app which acts as "your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you."[3]

Their first augmented reality mobile game Ingress followed in November 2012 as an invite-only Android app. It was opened to the public in October 2013 and an iOS version was released in July 2014. Niantic's next announced mobile game, Endgame, "is" (unreleased) a transmedia storytelling project consisting of an alternate reality game, Endgame: Ancient Truth, novels by James Frey starting with Endgame: The Calling, and the mobile app, Endgame: Proving Ground.[4][5][6][7]

Initially, Niantic had taken an alternative approach to monetization, veering away from more traditional mobile application development standards such as ad placements and in-app purchases. However, following the split with Google in 2015, in-app purchasing was implemented for Ingress. Founder and CEO John Hanke has noted that Ingress is a sort of proof of concept, adding that a next step could involve packaging application programming interfaces (APIs) from the Ingress application in order to entice developers.[8] Existing partners, marketed through the narrative of Ingress rather than direct marketing techniques, include Hint Water, Vodafone, Motorola, AXA, SoftBank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Lawson (store) and Ito En.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Spinoff from Google and investments[edit]

The company spun out of Google in October 2015,[16][17][18][19] soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc.[20][21] During the spinout, Niantic announced that Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest up to $30 million ($20 million upfront with an additional $10 million conditioned upon the company achieving certain milestones[22]) in it to support the growth of the company and its products.[23] In February 2016, Niantic announced that it secured an additional $5 million[24] in Series A funding including investment[25] from venture capital firms Alsop Louie Partners and You & Mr. Jones Brandtech Ventures as well as angel investors Lucas Nealan, Cyan Banister and Scott Banister.[26] While adding more support for the growth of the company, this investment enabled Niantic to bring in strategic industry pioneers including the addition of Gilman Louie to its board.[27]

Pokémon Go[edit]

In September 2015, it was announced that Niantic was developing and publishing Pokémon Go in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for iOS and Android.[28] Niantic published Pokémon Go in most regions of the world on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store in July 2016, with a small wearable device called the Pokémon Go Plus,[29] developed by Nintendo,[30] set to be released in September 2016.[31] Following its initial launch in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, Pokémon Go became an overnight global phenomenon,[32] significantly increasing the use and visibility of augmented reality technology.[33] In addition to topping app store charts in most regions for top-free app and top-grossing app, Apple Inc. announced that Pokémon Go became the most downloaded app in a first week ever.[34] Reports indicate that users are spending more time on Pokémon Go than on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tinder, and Instagram.[35][36] Just shy of a month post-launch, Pokémon Go has reportedly been downloaded more than 100 million times with daily revenues exceeding $10 million according to app analytics firm App Annie.[37]


  1. ^ "Employment Opportunities | Niantic". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Markowitz, Eric (December 20, 2012). "Exclusive: Inside the Mind of Google's Greatest Idea Man, John Hanke". Retrieved June 19, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Field Trip on the App Store". iTunes. 
  4. ^ Frank, Blair Hanley. "Google's Niantic Labs merges another virtual world with reality in upcoming game". Geek Wire. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ Rosenblatt, Seth Google's Niantic follows Ingress with Endgame Cnet retrieved September 9, 2014
  6. ^ Takahashi, Dean (December 17, 2014). "Google's Niantic Labs embarks on a giant interactive transmedia project with controversial author James Frey". Venture Beat. 
  7. ^ Robertson, Adi (July 28, 2014). "Google is helping James Frey build a multimedia sci-fi juggernaut". The Verge. 
  8. ^ Newton, Casey (December 13, 2013). "The everywhere arcade: How Google is turning location into a game platform". The Verge. 
  9. ^ Holly, Russell (February 25, 2013). "Google makes Ingress codes available through HINT water partnership". GEEK. 
  10. ^ Hanke, John (August 19, 2013). "Vodofone Germany Announcement". John Hanke Google+ Page. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. 
  11. ^ Niantic Labs, Inc. (August 1, 2013). "Ultra Strike Weapon Revealed - INGRESS REPORT - EP19". Ingress Youtube Page. 
  12. ^ AXA Financial, Inc. (December 16, 2014). "AXA and Google's Niantic Labs Partner to Integrate 20,000 Global Retail Agencies into Ingress' Interactive'Real World' Mobile Gameplay Experience". AXA Press Release. 
  13. ^ Softbank Group, Corp. (July 27, 2015). "ソフトバンクショップがIngressに登場!". Softbank Press Release. 
  14. ^ The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (June 20, 2015). "BTMU announces a partnership with "Ingress", using its vast network of branches and ATMs as portals in Japan!". MUFG Press Release. 
  15. ^ Ito En, Ltd. (July 31, 2015). "スマートフォン用モバイルゲームアプリ「Ingress」(※)とコラボレーション". ITO EN Press Release. 
  16. ^ "Employment Opportunities | Niantic". Retrieved 2016-07-17. 
  17. ^ Upbin, Bruce. "The Niantic Project: What Is Google Up To?". Forbes. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ Groden, Claire (August 13, 2015). "Google's internal start-up Niantic Labs spins off". Fortune. 
  19. ^ Olanoff, Drew (August 12, 2015). "Niantic Labs, Maker Of Ingress, Spun Out Of Google As Its Own Company". Tech Crunch. 
  20. ^ Kessler, Sarah. "Can A Startup Live Inside Google? Niantic Labs, Creators Of Field Trip And "Ingress" Try". Fast Company. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  21. ^ Elder, Jeff. "Google-Incubated Niantic, Maker of Ingress, Stepping Out on Its Own". Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  22. ^ "Niantic Inc. Raises $20 Million in Financing from The Pokémon Company, Google and Nintendo". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  23. ^ McWhertor, Michael (October 15, 2015). "Nintendo, Google and Pokémon Company invest $20M in Pokémon Go developer". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  24. ^ Nutt, Christian. "Pokémon Go dev Niantic Labs scores another $5 million in funding". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Welcoming Gilman Louie, David Jones, Fuji TV, Cyan & Scott Banister, and Lucas Nealan to the Niantic Family". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Feb 25, 2016: Niantic Labs - Funding Round - Series A | CrunchBase". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Niantic raises another $5m in Series A". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  28. ^ Pokémon GO Press Conference. YouTube. September 10, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Pokémon GO Plus | Pokémon GO". Retrieved July 8, 2016. 
  30. ^ Byford, Sam (10 September 2015). "Up close with Nintendo's Pokémon Go Plus wearable". The Verge. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  31. ^ Sarkar, Samit (2016-07-27). "Pokémon Go Plus delayed to September". Polygon. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  32. ^ "Why Pokémon GO has been a viral success". Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  33. ^ "What Pokémon Go's Success Means for the Future of Augmented Reality". Fortune. 2016-07-23. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  34. ^ Dillet, Romain. "Apple says Pokémon Go is the most downloaded app in a first week ever". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  35. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Pokémon Go tops Twitter's daily users, sees more engagement than Facebook". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  36. ^ "5 Charts That Show Pokémon GO's Growth in the US". 2016-07-10. Retrieved 2016-07-27. 
  37. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Pokémon Go passed 100 million installs over the weekend". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 

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