By Michael Carroll

Niantic goes further with 5G AR

Pokemon Go was a high-profile example of the evolution of mobile gaming, being among the first to bring AR to a mass consumer market and delivering billions of dollars of revenue for developer Niantic.

The brouhaha created by the title makes it hard to believe it is approaching its sixth birthday, with its release coming at least two years before the first 5G networks began to launch.

Priscilla Campillo, Emerging Markets Manager for Niantic, told Mobile World Daily the title remains popular today and has created a lasting legacy by laying the groundwork for fresh games and partnerships.

She highlighted the release of Urban Legends in 2021, a multiplayer environment building on the platform created for Niantic titles including Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which aimed to continue pushing AR into a mass-market scenario.

Campillo explained Niantic built the platform “from the ground up exclusively to demonstrate the benefits of AR gaming on 5G networks”.

While operators including Deutsche Telekom and Telstra were among several involved in the development of the platform, Campillo noted the first deployment came during MWC21 Barcelona in partnership with Orange.

“Players worked collaboratively to defeat opponents and collect AR keys which they had to use to free Captain Dotty, the original Niantic explorer.”

The multiplayer element of the game makes 5G an essential component, Campillo said pointing the need for latency to “be as low as possible so players feel that they are in a shared, responsive experience.”

A combination of latency of less than 25 milliseconds with mobile edge computing “can reduce the round trip connectivity time between players by as much as ten-times when compared to 4G”.

“This is a vital component to the evolution of multiplayer AR”, Campillo explained, adding Niantic is in the early days of an ambition of building a “world where our explorers can have a truly immersive experience”.

Campillo will be taking part in the Evolution and Reach of 5G Gaming session today.