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Google, Nintendo, and Pokemon Company invest $20 million into Niantic

As Niantic prepares for its next game, Pokemon Go, they have raised $20 million in funding from Google, Nintendo, and the Pokemon Company.

Published onOctober 15, 2015

Last month we first learned about Pokemon Go, a project involving the Pokemon Company, Nintendo, and Niantic labs. In short, Pokemon Go was billed as sort of like “Ingress but with a Pokemon theme”, meaning a game where you’d be encouraged to interact with the real world by walking around while catching virtual monsters, thanks to the magic of augmented reality.

While Ingress certainly has its own cult following, it wasn’t exactly a mainstream breakout, but it seems that Niantic and its partners have big hopes that Pokemon will have the mass appeal required to really make AR gaming take off in a big way. Getting such a project up and running won’t be cheap, however. Especially if they want to expand on the premise in a deeper way than its predecessor.

Niantic has managed to raise $20 million in funding from Google, the Pokemon Company, and Nintendo.

To that end, the company recently began raising funds in order to help get Pokemon Go, and likely other future projects, off the ground. So far Niantic has managed to raise $20 million in funding from Google, the Pokemon Company, and Nintendo.

Considering Niantic and Google’s past relationship, it isn’t surprising to see that Mountain View still has interest in Niantic, and Niantic has made it clear that Google Maps will continue to play a big role in the way that the company’s AR games work. The Nintendo and the Pokemon Company’s investment is equally unsurprising, given their collaboration on Pokemon Go.

In addition to the $20 million, Niantic could reportedly see an additional $10 million from these investors once they reach certain undisclosed performance milestones. While there’s no specifics here, we imagine this means if they can actually get it launched, and get it to take off among consumers in a meaningful way.

As someone who liked the idea of Ingress but never really got hooked, Pokemon Go has me at least partially intrigued. Although some might argue it’s a bit “too kiddy”, I have a long-standing relationship with the Pokemon franchise that goes back to my childhood, so nostalgia alone could be enough to get me interested if Niantic and Nintendo play their cards right.

It makes sense that Nintendo and Niantic will play on nostalgia and global recognition to sell consumers on this game, but where Niantic and Nintendo really see the most potential is in the emerging world. As Niantic CEO John Hanke said in a recent statement to Re/Code, “They’re really excited about taking that idea out to emerging markets, where the phone may be the only piece of interactive technology that someone has access to.” “There’s a whole set of people around the world who are aware of Pokémon, but have never had the opportunity to play the game.”

What do you think of the idea of Pokemon Go? Do you think AR games can ever hit mainstream? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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