Pokémon GO creator Niantic buys Escher Reality AR startup

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The company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, has announced that it is acquiring augmented reality startup Escher Reality.

Escher Reality builds backend services for cross-platform mobile AR so users can interact with each other and objects in the environment. The startup offered functionality for shared experiences that was absent in both Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit.

Persistent experiences mean that the AR system remembers where you placed objects in your AR home or can tell when another person is moving them around and keep you updated accordingly; it extends much deeper than that, but foundationally it makes interactive environments capable of being shared.

The startup was one of the clear standouts from its Y Combinator class and we even highlighted it in our list of favorites. What made it so appealing was that it delivered less-sexy backend services to a platform everyone was talking about but nobody (still) really understands.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The startup’s investors include Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Webb Investment Network, iRobot Ventures, Presence Capital, Into Ventures and others.

Niantic has been one of the major powerhouses in AR gaming, so this one isn’t too surprising. In a blog post, Niantic highlighted just how quickly it intended to put Escher Reality’s technology to use:

The addition of the Escher AR technology is incredibly exciting to us at Niantic as it significantly accelerates our work on persistent, shared AR as part of the Niantic real-world application platform. It’s our intention to make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year. Stay tuned for information on developer availability.

Niantic is releasing its next big AR title Harry Potter Wizards Unite this year.

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