Urban Legends’ bets big on 5G AR gaming

p 1 nianticand8217s new codename urbany legends ar game bets big on 5g

The primary expertise meant to display that high-quality augmented actuality video games could possibly be the killer app for 5G wi-fi networks is right here.

Final summer time, Pokémon Go creator Niantic introduced it was teaming up with a global roster of wi-fi carriers to develop the supply of high-quality AR experiences for 5G networks. Now, seven months later, a few of these carriers’ prospects can lastly play a demo model of the primary recreation to emerge from the alliance.

Dubbed Codename: Urban Legends, the demo was constructed on the identical international location-based AR platform powering megahits like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The objective of the venture is to showcase the attractiveness of high-quality AR video games on the 5G networks of a subset of alliance companions—Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe Telecom.


Though Niantic isn’t but saying when the complete model of Codename: Urban Legends shall be obtainable, the discharge of the demo is a crucial milestone because the alliance strikes towards a broader deployment of 5G-ready AR experiences. Every of the networks is probably desperate to show to prospects that it’s value paying for entry to the following technology of wi-fi community.

“Lots of in the present day’s 4G functions will merely work higher or evolve in 5G,” Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Analysis, advised me final yr when the alliance was first revealed. On the time Rubin stated he believed AR could be the one “pillar” expertise that might “basically change how we work together with the world if it could actually achieve entry to the high-bandwidth, low-latency, and finally broad protection of 5G.”

Since then, he’s concluded that cloud gaming can also be a winner on 5G networks. Nonetheless, Rubin now says, “AR has essentially the most transformative, long-term potential in driving shoppers’ curiosity.”

Niantic’s alliance with 5G carriers may trace at the place it’ll go along with its {hardware} efforts.

And that’s precisely what Niantic is hoping to indicate the world. As its CEO, John Hanke, stated final yr, the objective of the alliance is to marry the edge-computing component of the carriers’ 5G networks with Niantic’s platform in an effort to let thousands and thousands of individuals play the superior video games and different functions that can finally be obtainable. In keeping with Niantic, alliance companions’ 5G networks will ship one-tenth the latency of 4G networks in addition to the flexibility for 10 instances as many individuals to play video games concurrently. In brief, the corporate is banking a lot of its future on the concept that AR gaming will finally be 5G’s killer app.

Codename: Urban Legends was designed to display the expertise’s capabilities. It’s an immersive, social, multiplayer expertise that duties gamers with casting spells to battle monsters and save imperiled allies.

For now, 5G provider prospects will play Niantic’s experiences on smartphones and tablets, however the firm has hinted at a logical path towards customized AR {hardware} optimized for 5G networks. In 2019, Niantic teamed up with Qualcomm on a reference design for AR glasses. A yr and a half later, the corporate is clearly nonetheless centered on creating {hardware} like that, no less than as evidenced by a Hanke tweet on Monday that includes a photograph of 1 aspect of a pair of Niantic-branded AR glasses. It’s “thrilling to see the progress we’re making to allow new sorts of units that leverage our platform,” he wrote.

Whereas it’s too early to know for positive, Niantic’s alliance with 5G carriers may trace at the place it’ll go along with its {hardware} efforts. But when Niantic and its companions wish to be the leaders on this expertise race, they’ll should fend off challenges from giants akin to Google, Apple, and Fb.


With preliminary titles like Codename: Urban Legends, Niantic is hoping to get a jump-start on these rivals and win the battle earlier than it actually begins. If individuals discover the demo spectacular, it could actually assist to lift pleasure, Rubin says. However, invoking the reminiscence of one in all expertise’s most up-to-date and notorious crash-and-burn tales, he cautions that there’s no assure of success. In any case, he factors out, “Magic Leap had a number of spectacular demos.”