Niantic announced another acquisition, in a January 5th blog post. The latest company to join the Niantic family is Mayhem, a company with expertise in designing social gaming experiences and building online communities. This is yet another acquisition to help bring about Niantic’s vision for the future of mobile gaming.
Over the past few years, Mayhem has created an online platform for gamers to self-organize custom game formats for their communities. This is mostly through assisting players to connect with each other for esports matches and tournaments.
While Harry Potter: Wizards Unite doesn’t have many social features, the least of the 3 Niantic products, it definitely has room to grow. For example, the game could an option to invite friends to hop on the Knight Bus with you, or simply implement a more organized way for players to enter and battle a Chamber as a group. Right now, there isn’t really a mechanic that would need the organization of duels or tournaments, but that could all be part of the future vision for Wizards Unite.
Although Mayhem does not focus on augmented reality (AR) technologies, this latest acquisition shows that Niantic is still committed to its players and the communities built around Niantic games.
Niantic knows their products are more than just games; they know the games are a way to unite people of all sorts and create an experience. Hanke even writes in the blog post, “Through our games, many Niantic explorers have found incredible meaning in playing and interacting with other explorers. They create memories, they make friends, and they end up with some amazing stories to tell.”
For many Niantic players, the pandemic has changed gaming communities from local to virtual. Although there are many 3rd-party offerings to virtually connect with in-game friends, they don’t always integrate with Niantic.
While game developers can use AR to create an immersive world, a game can only go so far when players are in that world alone. By building a community in that world, the immersion is taken to the next step.
Niantic’s acquisition of Mayhem is an opportunity to expand the community-building around Niantic games, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic and the present need for virtual communities.
What are your thoughts on Niantic’s acquisition of Mayhem? What do you think are some of the possible additions to the game building on Mayhem’s expertise?
Let us know your opinion in the comments below or through any of the Wizards Unite Hub social channels. Until then, let’s keep building our Wizarding community!