Niantic Launches Lightship VPS for Web Bringing the Real-World Metaverse to the Browser

In Augmented reality news

September 22, 2022 – Niantic, augmented reality (AR) technology provider and developer of Pokémon GO, today announced the launch of Lightship VPS for the web, bringing its Visual Positioning System (VPS) to the 8th Wall platform.

The first-of-its-kind browser-based technology connects the real world to the digital world by anchoring WebAR content to locations and allowing virtual objects to interact with the space in which they reside. reality experiences feel more personal, meaningful and real, and will give users new reasons to explore the world around them.

Lightship VPS for Web transforms everyday places into experiential destinations. The technology essentially helps unlock the digital twin of a physical location, which can then be augmented to create a range of AR experiences. This can help drive traffic to a specific location, like a statue in a park or a storefront in a city, to engage users in new ways that translate to real global value.

Niantic has a lot of experience handling this kind of real-world engagement through its wildly successful AR mobile game Pokémon GO, which has successfully helped businesses around the world grow through point placement. in-game interest, such as PokéStops and Gyms, which would draw users to different real-world locations (such as cafes and malls).

With the launch of VPS for the web and the use of the 8th Wall platform, developers, agencies and brands can now create WebAR experiences that can only be engaged in one place, reinforcing the need for in a certain place, or AR experiences that can be used at any number of VPS-enabled locations on Niantic’s AR map, increasing the reach of this content. They can also create multi-site experiences such as AR scavenger hunts and geo AR games by combining a number of VPS-enabled experiences into a single project, according to Niantic.

A demonstration of occlusion with the character Doty from Niantic.

“At Niantic, we believe the real-world metaverse should inspire people to explore and connect with the world around them,” said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic. “Bringing Lightship VPS to the web will allow developers to create immersive WebAR experiences anchored in real-world locations all around us. is just the beginning. We can’t wait to see what location-based AR experiences our developer community will create with this new tool.”

Developers today want to create immersive AR experiences anchored in real places. To do this, they must first understand exactly where their users are and what they are looking at. Lightship VPS uses Niantic’s AR world map to anchor AR content with centimeter-level precision around the world. Bringing the system to the 8th Wall platform, developers can now build VPS-enabled AR experiences with high levels of accuracy and precision that work directly in the mobile browser, requiring no app downloads.

In addition to enabling location-based AR experiences, Lightship VPS for Web also gives WebAR developers, for the first time, access to the 3D mesh of a location for use in an AR scene. This capability will allow developers to create WebAR experiences that use occlusion and physics and will add a greater level of interactivity between virtual objects and the physical world, according to the company.

“Today marks a major milestone for web and augmented reality,” said Tom Emrich, Director of Product Management, 8th Wall at Niantic. “Lightship VPS unlocks extraordinary value for developers by giving them a new tool to create WebAR experiences that not only recognize where their users are in the world, but also gives them access to relevant information to better integrate virtual content into where it’s experienced.. It’s another first for the browser, unlocked by Niantic’s 8th Wall platform, and makes WebAR more real, more personal, and even more connected to the real world than ever before.

Developers can add VPS-enabled locations to Niantic’s AR map, or immediately use the over 100,000 VPS-enabled locations available at launch, to create their own location-based WebAR experiences. VPS-enabled locations are not just streetscapes or public landmarks, but rather a collection of publicly accessible locations that include parks, trails, local businesses, and more.

Built together as a community, Niantic’s AR map is powered by real-world location analytics from developers, surveyors, and gamers. The community has contributed millions of locations, photos, and scans, all of which the company says are essential data that enables location serving with Lightship VPS.

Lightship VPS for Web is now available to all 8th Wall developers. Click here.

Image/video credit: Niantic / YouTube


Sam Sprigg

Sam is the founder and editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for five years.

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