Earlier than Faceboo, er, Meta and Microsoft unveiled their high-profile and impressive visions for the metaverse in October, Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke wrote a firm weblog submit titled, “The Metaverse is a Dystopian Nightmare. Let’s Build A Better Reality.” In it, the chief of the corporate behind the augmented actuality video games Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Ingress Prime says that an excessive amount of of the dialog and vision across the metaverse is concentrated on escaping the actual world in favor of a digital one. “We consider we will use expertise to lean into the ‘actuality’ of augmented actuality—encouraging everybody, ourselves included, to face up, stroll exterior, and join with folks and the world round us,” wrote Hanke. “Expertise needs to be used to make these core human experiences higher—to not substitute them.”
Now Niantic is launching its first-ever brand marketing campaign to convey that vision to life. Dropping on Nationwide Mountaineering Day to place a finer level on it, the corporate is aiming to harness the collective energy of its video games and remind folks that there’s a firm with its personal distinctive vision behind them, one which sees expertise’s potential exterior in the actual world.
Niantic’s director of worldwide product advertising, Archit Bhargava, says that from a advertising perspective, the corporate—which began inside Google in 2010 and have become an impartial firm in 2015—has historically invested in constructing its sport manufacturers, just like the lately launched Pikmin Bloom. “Deep down, we’ve at all times felt and talked about Niantic having this backseat as a firm facilitating these merchandise,” says Bhargava. Launched in 2016, Pokemon Go, for instance, grew to become a international hit and has made $6 billion in income. “Particularly now, with a lot dialog concerning the metaverse and spending extra time in these digital worlds, we felt that it’s much more vital for us to articulate our viewpoint. We needed to seek out a method to do it in a sublime and energetic manner.”
Created with the company Gravity Highway, the spot opens with a shadowy specter within the air, first above a suburban road, then a wet metropolis night time, then a sun-drenched residence window. You’ll be able to’t fairly make out what it’s, however it’s large. It’s grabbing folks’s consideration as they work at their desks, watch TV, lay in mattress. It sparks them into motion. After they’re prepared, their gaming handles flash above them, hero type. Then they’re adventuring via metropolis streets, parks, and extra, as video-game prompts hail their consideration. Bumblebee from The Transformers pops up on a road nook. Pikachu is on a lady’s shoulder. It culminates with a crowd ascending a grassy hill, metropolis steps, and residence roofs till the digital camera pans as much as reveal an airship—Niantic’s brand—flying by because the beacon they’ve been following.
Bhargava says the augmented actuality is deliberately refined as a result of they didn’t need to overshadow how superior the actual world is. “The concept was, what if this ship was calling folks exterior like an ice cream truck of optimism,” he says.
Whereas lengthy deliberate, the timing, when it comes to how the metaverse has exploded into the bigger tradition dialog proper now, couldn’t be higher. The corporate can also be taking the chance to ask builders into the fold with its new Lightship platform, an augmented-reality growth equipment launched final week for builders to entry Niantic’s instruments to construct their very own experiences.
The brand new ad truly premiered inside Ingress, accessed at in-game markers (or “portals”) at completely different bodily geographic areas the place gamers can entry sport stock. The spot additionally consists of a number of easter eggs for followers of its video games to seek out and use to entry unique merchandise and tickets to Niantic occasions.
In the end, the brand new marketing campaign is yet one more guardian firm hoping to remind folks that there’s a identify behind the names they already know. Witness each P&G ad ever made. Or how Sony has long aimed to show all its gaming characters as roomies under one corporate roof. What makes Niantic a bit completely different is how this marketing campaign serves not solely as a reminder of what it’s, however within the context of the broader metaverse, what it’s not.
Bhargava says an excessive amount of of the metaverse dialog revolves round a basic acceptance that the longer term will probably be largely spent in a digital setting, and that the actual world is one thing we’ve given up on. “We’re completely anti that,” he says. “We’re targeted on a future the place expertise and our instruments may be a layer on prime of actuality—be additive, be refined, and that’s what we need to signify on this vision.”