Although Niantic Labs has been less successful with its IP, it has found a more lucrative market in making AR games around already well-known franchises. Pokemon GO remains his most successful attempt while Harry Potter: Wizards Unite still has a loyal following despite the numbers dropping. Niantic’s real product, however, is her “Real World” augmented reality platform and she is working on it again for another Nintendo franchise, this time around the more gentle Pikmin creatures.
Niantic Labs’ upcoming fourth major AR title is a big deal for both companies involved. For Niantic, this will be the first title to come out of the Tokyo studio she created in 2018. It will also be the first major AR experience out of the company since the somewhat disappointing launch of Harry Potter Spinoff in 2019 unless she does. Count Catan: Explorers of the World.
For Nintendo, this partnership marks the company’s fourth partnership with a mobile game developer after DeNA, Cygames and Line. The gaming giant has been criticized by both fans and even investors for not turning smartphone apps and games into profit. Given the success of Pokemon GO, also made in collaboration with Nintendo, this next mobile game is likely to be profitable.
However, that will depend largely on the global situation by the time the still-unknown Pikmin AR launches later this year. Niantic keeps the cap snug, of course, but Involved This game will encourage walking and make walking more fun. This isn’t entirely surprising given Niantic’s basic augmented reality gaming mechanics.
However, the game comes at a time when there is still some hesitation and uncertainty about such activities in many parts of the world. The pandemic has even forced Niantic Labs to adjust its gameplay to take account of some limitations. As parts of the world, especially in major Nintendo markets like the US and Japan, open up spaces, it remains to be seen whether this walking-focused Pikmin AR will be seen as a much-needed diversion or a health risk.