On June 6, 2016, it was released in the United States, Australia and New Zealand Pokemon Go. To get to Italy, Niantic's game would have taken another month and a half, but even before that July 14 many had found a way to get around national borders and start playing it.

The numbers of success

Despite the huge initial success, few would have imagined that, five years after its release, Pokemon Go would be able to keep an important role in the market. The data collected and processed by Tower Sensor instead they photograph a consolidated success, which has earned Niantic 5 billions of dollars.

The pandemic has, against all odds, contributed to the success of the game. Despite the lockdown, Niantic's extraordinary measures to encourage home play have pushed Pokemon Go to new heights. In 2020 the app generated 1,3 billion dollars from player purchases, and the first half of 2021 was the most profitable ever.

Global First Half-Year Player Spending in Pokémon GO

Niantic before and after video games

This success was not the result of a stroke of luck. Niantic worked for 15 years on augmented reality technologies for various purposes, before embarking on a collaboration with Nintendo. At the beginning the software house contributed to the realization of Google Earth, through the development of the Keyhole software.

The one with Google was supposed to be only a short collaboration for Niantic, but it ended up lasting over ten years during which the developers acquired more and more skills in the field of augmented reality. In this period from Niantc Lab (name of the company under Google) came out apps such as Field Trip and above all Ingress.

The importance of the latter does not lie in the moderate success it achieved. Ingress is Niantic's first true video game, and forms the basis for a consistent gameplay part that will feature Pokemon Go. The software house stood out and got $ 35 million in funding, enough to say goodbye to Google and become an independent company.

The success of Pokemon Go then allowed Niantic to start thinking about expanding. The first step was in the summer of 2019 Wizards Unite, similar to Pokemon Go but based on the Harry Potter universe. Perhaps because of the resemblance to Niantic's spearhead or perhaps because of the pandemic that struck a few months after its release, United Wizards represents Niantic's first misstep in the world of video games.

Although the app is very advanced in terms of graphics and augmented reality, it has not managed to achieve satisfactory success. However, this has certainly not stopped Niantic, which has no intention of remaining a meteor linked to the name of Pokemon Go. the company still generates 85% of the earnings related to augmented reality games. 

Niantic beyond video games

To untie his destiny from Pokemon Go Niantic also intends to look at his past. The software house was born outside the world of video games, and is aware that it is not forced to remain confined to the gaming market.

The virtual reality knowledge accumulated over the years will be applied to a headset in collaboration with Qualcomm. Although this prototype is still far from seeing the light, the intention is to take advantage of VR for various purposes, from education to tourism, looking for other ways of applying augmented reality than video games.

This differentiation, however, does not mean that Niantic will abandon the gaming market. The next big project of the company concerns a video game this time based on the Transformers, called Transformers: Heavy Metal. This project will follow Pikmin Go, another collaboration with Nintendo, due out at the end of 2021.

relates to Pokémon Go Creator Has a Plan to Be More Than a One-Hit Wonder
Bumblebee concept art provided by Niantic for the new Transformers: Heavy Metal video game

Even though the world of augmented reality is populated by giants like Microsoft, Facebook or Google, Niantic plans to fight for a prominent place. Pokemon Go's success allowed it to offset the huge investments of competitors, and to focus on research to take advantage from a technological point of view. But even if Niantic's plans don't go through, the company will always have an important place in the massive success story of video games.