Video games are big business right now. The industry has generated $82 billion of revenue through hardware sales alone in 2021, and a new report forecasts that number will increase to $135 billion by 2026. What makes that already unfathomable number even more impressive is that it doesn't even include mobile gaming, a branch of the industry that might well generate more money than any other.
If you don't believe us, then perhaps the revelation that Niantic is now worth more than $9 billion might convince you otherwise. A $300 million investment from Coatue has pushed Niantic over that incredible milestone, and the money is intended to help build a real-world metaverse. It will apparently be very different from the metaverse Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get us all to be a part of.
Niantic's CEO actually described the idea of a VR metaverse as a “dystopian nightmare” which is why it might be a little surprising to hear the company and the buzzword mentioned in the same sentence. Niantic's AR metaverse will be engineered to get people out more. That's opposed to the VR take on the concept which can only happen when you're wearing a very expensive headset.
If you have taken photos of a nearby Pokestop, then you have already done your part in aiding Niantic to build its metaverse. Simply put, a Pokemon Go metaverse will be a layer that is placed over the real world. For example, if you pass a statue, Niantic will tell you a little bit about it courtesy of what other users have posted. As for the cash Niantic continues to generate, the bulk of it continues to be brought in by Pokemon Go. The hit AR game generated more than $1 billion in 2020 and is well on its way to breaking that record this year.
What Niantic has been unable to do is correctly identify another cash cow. It followed up on the initial success of Pokemon Go by launching Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Two years later and Niantic recently revealed its magical AR game will be closing down. Pikmin is the latest series Niantic has given the AR treatment via Pikmin Bloom. Bloom requires far less attention and effort than Pokemon Go, something Niantic will be hoping lends itself to staying power.
The team is confident that, with enough interest, Warner Bros. will back the project.