Mobile augmented reality gaming pioneer Niantic is chomping at the bit to get games like Pokémon GO out of smartphones and onto smartglasses, and it appears to be taking matters into its own hands.
After previewing a proof of concept of Pokémon GO running on HoloLens 2 earlier this month, Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke on Monday shared a closely-cropped photo of a pair of smartglasses emblazoned the company’s wordmark on the temple.
“Exciting to see the progress we’re making to enable new kinds of devices that leverage our platform,” said Hanke in the tweet accompanying the image.
Despite the cryptic nature of the tweet, the company has already tipped its hand regarding its efforts in smartglasses development.
While DigiLens makes optical components intended for manufacturers to integrate into its own products, the company has also developed the DigiLens Crystal smartglasses reference design that it licenses to manufacturers looking to jumpstart product development.
The financial relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that Niantic plans to slap its brand on smartglasses based on the DigiLens Crystal design, but it does make DigiLens a clear candidate.
Hanke’s tweet also makes a reference to the Niantic Real World Platform, which enables next-generation AR experiences on not only its own games but also for apps from other developers. So, if Niantic isn’t planning to ship its own smartglasses, its financial and technical efforts facilitate the future of AR wearables.
The evolution from smartphones to smartglasses represents a huge opportunity for Niantic. Given its philosophy of getting people outside to play games, an ecosystem where players can interact with games in their field of view instead of gazing downwards at a touchscreen is quite simply a better experience. Whatever shape the Niantic’s role takes, it’s exciting to see that it is taking an active one.