The creator of Pokémon Go bought an LA-based gaming studio as its acquisition spree continues

NianticNiantic CEO John Hanke
  • Pokémon Go creator Niantic has acquired Seismic Games, an LA-based game studio – a deal that will bring Niantic’s headcount over 300.
  • Seismic Games is best known as the co-developer of “Marvel Strike Force,” a smartphone game that’s reportedly generated $US25 million in revenue in its first four months on the market.
  • Niantic says that Seismic Games will finish up its existing commitments before going to work on new augmented reality experiences.

Niantic, the creator of Pokémon Go, has made its third acquisition of the year – its fourth since November – as it announces the purchase of Los Angeles-based gaming studio Seismic Games.

Seismic Games is best known as the co-developer of “Marvel Strike Force,” a free-to-play smartphone game that lets players assemble teams from across the Marvel comic book universe. Just this week, it was reported that the game brought in $US25 million in its first four months on the market. Seismic also developed “Blade Runner: Revelations,” a virtual reality game for Google’s Daydream headsets.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition brings some established game development talent to Niantic, which was spun out from Google in 2015, and will bring its headcount to over 300 people, a spokesperson says. The founders of Seismic Games are known as former leaders on the classic first-person shooter “Star Wars: Battlefront,” released in 2004, among other games.

Pokemon GoPANiantic sees itself as the leader in AR gaming

Beyond continuing to improve Pokémon Go, Niantic is working on “Ingress Prime,” a sweeping update to its first-ever location-based game, as well as the hotly-anticipated “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” both expected to launch later this year. Niantic sees itself as a leader in augmented reality, the tech for overlaying digital information over the real world.

Notably, Niantic says in a blog entry announcing the acquisition that Seismic will “continue to see through its existing slate of titles in development as it transitions into building all new AR experiences.” This language hints that, once it’s through its existing commitments, Seismic could get to work on all-new games, beyond the ones we know about.

Going forward, Niantic recently announced its intentions to be seen as more as a game studio, as it gave us a look at the Niantic Real World Platform – software to help developers build their own augmented reality apps, described by the company as “an operating system that bridges the digital and the physical worlds.”

Indeed, Niantic’s previous acquisitions, including Escher Reality and Matrix Mill, were smaller companies with cutting-edge AR technology, designed to bolster the Real World Platform. In its blog entry, Niantic says that bringing Seismic on is a “significant accelerant” that will help it achieve its vision “faster, and better.”

Otherwise, Niantic has something else to celebrate. Over the weekend, the company held the second-annual Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago.

While the inaugural event in 2017 was a fiasco, as WiFi and cell service failures meant players couldn’t even log in, this year’s fest seems to have gone much better. Over 21,000 players gathered in the city and got the chance to capture the ultra-rare monster Celebi.

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