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A depiction of the Lightship VPS scanning process. Credit: Niantic.

Niantic’s New Social AR Tool; Meta’s Improved Room Mapping

By  |  May 24, 2022 11:00 AM PDT
Photo: A depiction of the Lightship VPS scanning process. Credit: Niantic.

Niantic today launched its new visual positioning system for the Lightship AR platform, a tool that promises to make it easier for developers to deliver localized and persistent AR content in their apps. Niantic also unveiled today something even more intriguing: Campfire, a social tool coming first to the AR game Ingress. The company plans to release Campfire as its own “homepage” discovery experience for Niantic’s concept of a real world metaverse.

Niantic is describing Campfire as a “social network” tailored to its AR experiences—think of it like a cross between Snapchat’s map feature and an online bulletin board. On Campfire’s in-game map, users will be able to see hot spots of activity and messages from other players trying to rally around a certain event or objective. Once Campfire exists on its own, though, players will be able to flip between the map content across different games like Ingress and Pokemon Go, which has the potential of encouraging more activity (and spending) across those otherwise siloed AR experiences. A company spokesman confirmed to Reality Check that Niantic is also looking to make Campfire available to other developers using Lightship.

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