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Pokemon Go creator and Digital Catapult partnering to develop real-world metaverse

Posted 4 May 2022

Pokemon Go creator and Digital Catapult partnering to develop real-world metaverse

Niantic, the technology company behind Pokemon Go, is partnering with Digital Catapult on an Augmented Reality (AR) acceleration programme. The Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Accelerator will give UK startups the chance to develop game-changing immersive experiences as part of Niantic’s mission to create a real-world metaverse. 

The accelerator programme will see global children’s brand Cartoon Network and internationally renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor work with startups and immersive studios on creating groundbreaking AR experiences for their brands. 

As organisations, governments and citizens are in the early stages of understanding what the metaverse means for them, Digital Catapult and Niantic’s programme will explore how AR technology can define the real world metaverse; becoming the next platform for social interactions, enriching human experiences, and bringing people closer together.

Digital Catapult and Niantic will tap into the UK’s network of immersive startups and studios, supporting them to develop concepts utilising Niantic’s recently-launched Lightship Augmented Developer Kit. Three startups will be awarded up to £100,000 each to develop a demonstrator of a socially engaging AR experience using the platform.

The Lightship ARDK lowers the barrier to entry for developers to create AR experiences, and enables immersive startups to bring virtual content into the real world, to inspire movement, exploration, and shared experiences.

While other conceptions of the metaverse bring people into an online world, the Lightship platform is using technology to bring people together outside, encouraging real world connection rather than isolation. The Augmented Reality accelerator launched by Niantic and Digital Catapult will not only encourage greater human connection but support UK startups to grow and develop new cutting-edge AR applications. 

The new partnership, which sits under the FutureScope accelerator programme, adds to Digital Catapult’s impressive roster of immersive programmes. Digital Catapult’s reach to the immersive ecosystem is the strongest of any organisation in the UK; last year, CreativeXR the flagship immersive accelerator received 750 applications. 

Digital Catapult will deliver Niantic’s Lightship developer toolkit and funding to the startups with the most creative ideas that bring people together and enrich real-world experiences.

If you are interested in joining the programme you can find out more here.