Just a month after its last acquisition of the WebAR development platform 8th Wall, Niantic announced its purchase of New Zealand-based augmented reality studio NZXR today. These strategic acquisitions are part of Niantic’s overarching plan to build what it calls a “real-world metaverse,” which is dependent on AR rather than VR.
NZXR formed during the pandemic, when its Wellington-based team was laid off from working on Magic Leap, an AR headset for enterprise. Rather than going their separate ways, the team built their own business, working on projects like the AR skateboarding game Skatrix and the interactive theater experience Destination Mars.
According to NZXR’s own blog post, the company had collaborated with Niantic before accepting their offer of a permanent partnership, becoming part of the company behind games like Pokémon Go. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“When John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO, wrote ‘the metaverse is a dystopian nightmare‘ it resonated with us far more than any of the metaverse hype pieces published before or since,” NZXR wrote. “A better world is not given. It’s going to take a lot of work and Niantic has demonstrated to us that they’re willing to put in the effort.”