Niantic is acquiring 8th Wall, a company that helps developers make web-based augmented reality apps, in what it says is its “largest acquisition to date.” The acquisition will help boost Niantic’s Lightship developer platform and to help developers “realize their visions for AR in the real-world metaverse,” Niantic’s Brian McClendon said in a blog post. (The company is a big fan of the term “real-world metaverse.”) Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, and when asked, Niantic spokesperson Jen Stratton said the details were confidential.
Niantic, the developer of the hugely popular Pokémon Go, has continued to push into AR, most recently with a Pikmin-themed app. But the company has had some misses, having shut down both Catan: Settlers and a Harry Potter-themed AR game. But given the acquisition announced Thursday, it seems that Niantic still believes in the potential for augmented reality apps and is aiming to make it easier for developers to make them.