Nov 28th 2017

Niantic invests in the future with Harry Potter and $200 million

Pokémon Go was a fairly large success, even with the bumpy road it has been on since launch. Mixing Pokémon into reality was the closest many people got to feeling like they were actually a part of the Pokémon universe. Now Niantic is dipping into the magical world of Harry Potter. Will it immerse people into the wizarding phenomenon, and will they improve upon the foundation Pokémon Go has helped build?

Niantic is working with Warner Bros. to create Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. There is only a little information out about the project, but it looks like exploring the real world is still key in the game. Instead of finding Pokémon wandering around, you’ll “discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!” They’re also upping the augmented reality for this game, and plan to use the most advanced augmented reality technology available (most likely ARCore for Android and ARKit for Apple).

AR has been popular ever since Pokémon Go dropped and rode as the top-grossing app for 74 straight days on the Apple app store. Companies have been looking for a way in after seeing the success it can have, and it looks like Niantic has decided to try for getting some more money out of that. After announcing their Harry Potter AR game Niantic started a new round of financing (Series B). They managed to collect $200 million for “long-term investments in augmented reality,” according to John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic. Several companies were a part of this investment, including NetEase and Spark Capital. This is a lot of money for a game that’s due to come out in 2018. Although with the wording, and how much time is left for development on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, this money will likely also go to future projects in AR for Niantic.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is scheduled to release sometime in 2018. It is also another popular series, like Pokémon, and it’s easy to see why investors would want to get involved. If it is done well, it may even surpass Pokémon in the money it makes. Although that’ll all depend on how well the game is made, and just how the microtransactions within it work. What do you think? Do you think people will play more Harry Potter in AR? There isn’t really competition from other games like there is with Pokémon, but does that mean more people will stick with an immersive Harry Potter game? Let me know what you think on Twitter @spencerhavens.