Nintendo joins Google, invests in mobile gaming company

Nintendo joins Google, invests in mobile gaming company

PanARMENIAN.Net - Nintendo is making its first investment in a mobile gaming company outside Japan, joining Google and the company behind the Pokemon franchise in a $30m funding round for Niantic, the Financial Times reports.

Niantic uses Google’s detailed data to create multiplayer mobile games that blend the digital and physical worlds. Nintendo and the Pokemon Company, along with Google, are investing an initial $20m in Niantic, with a further $10m contingent on meeting certain performance targets.

Ingress, its first hit, has been downloaded more than 13m times since its launch two years ago and has a devoted following, with players meeting in the real world in their thousands.

It uses the location of the player’s smartphone in a game that is part treasure hunt, part “capture the flag” — pitting two rival tribes in a global battle for control of virtual bases that map to real-world locations.

Last month, Niantic struck a deal with the Pokemon Company to bring this format to the popular Nintendo game, which sees players search through forests to collect a vast menagerie of creatures. “Pokemon GO” is scheduled for release on iOS and Android smartphones next year.

The deal is further evidence of Nintendo’s recent efforts to cater to user demands in the growing mobile gaming market, in a shift away from its traditional consoles-only strategy.

“VR is cutting you off from the whole world,” he said. “It’s not the same as connecting with people in real life and it’s not as healthy as breathing fresh air, experiencing things with all your senses. I don’t think we were built to sit in a dark room with a piece of electronics strapped on our head.”

By contrast, he said, “the real fun that people get out of [Niantic’s games] is going out of the house.”

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