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Company behind augmented reality game Ingress is leaving Google

Niantic Labs, the Google internal startup behind worldwide augmented reality game Ingress, is leaving its parent company to become an independent entity. Niantic Labs announced today on its Google+ page that it would be leaving Google to take its "unique blend of exploration and fun to even bigger audiences." Google won't be ending its relationship with Niantic Labs completely — the Ingress creator says Google will remain as collaborators and backers "along with some amazing new partners."

Niantic Labs developed another augmented reality game

The company first launched Android app Field Trip, which helped users find interesting places nearby, in 2012. Soon after, Niantic Labs released augmented reality game Ingress, which put players on one of two factions and asked them to explore real-world locations. In today's announcement, Niantic Labs said the game had been downloaded on Android and iOS more than 12 million times, and had pulled in 250,000 people to events held across the globe. Earlier this year, Niantic Labs launched Endgame: Ancient Truth, another augmented reality game that ran for several months and tied in with the wider sci-fi Endgame universe, including books written by authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton.

It's not yet clear what Niantic Labs' break from Google means for Ingress or future Endgame campaigns the company had planned. Nor has Google explained why it broke with its internal startup, but the megacorporation's recent reorganization into Alphabet — and Google's new "slimmed-down" structure — could have left little room for esoteric gaming experiences in Alphabet's future.

Thanks, Sebastian!