Niantic Partners with Punchdrunk for the Future of AR


Niantic announced last Tuesday that it will be partners with Punchdrunk, a UK-based theater company, to collaborate on interactive entertainment that uses real-world sets enhanced by augmented reality.

Punchdrunk is most notably known for their production of Sleep No More, an immersive theatrical presentation loosely telling Shakespeare’s Macbeth in a film noir setting. The audience dons white Venetian beak masks as they make their way through both the McKittrick Hotel and the story itself in a kind of “create-your-own-adventure,” where you can feel a part of the tale instead of just watching it from a single vantage point.


Holding true to Niantic’s quest for bringing live-action, real-world gameplay to our own neighborhoods, this partnership with Punchdrunk can catapult entertainment and video games to new cinematic depth and livable storytelling. Besides original content using this technology, there’s no limit to the uses fans of other franchises can imagine for a collision of physical spaces and augmented-reality driven effects, characters, and plot devices.

Niantic mentions more than 10 new games being in development as well as prototypes for AR wearables, such as glasses, being tested to be “centered around outdoor exploration, movement and social interaction.” Players of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite have long discussed AR wearables as a desired evolution of the game. We are already protecting the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy on our streets, what if we could see the Wizarding World around us too?

One of the games recently announced was CATAN – World Explorers, which is using Niantic’s Real World Platform to turn the globe into a massive experience for fans of the beloved boardgame. World Explorers recently opened beta-testing in New Zealand. You can learn more about the game here.

What kind of games would you like to see from Niantic? Which forms of entertainment would you like to see enhanced with augmented reality? Let us know in the comments.

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