Niantic Labs, formerly a part of Google, is making a Pokémon game for smartphones. Now the newly independent startup is taking outside funding from the folks that have made all the other Pokémon games.
Nintendo, the Pokémon Company and Google said today they’re investing $20 million in Niantic, with up to $10 million in additional funding possible if the games studio can meet performance milestones.
Niantic CEO John Hanke said conceptual work on Pokémon Go, which will let players discover and catch the titular pocket monsters by exploring the real world, started in early 2014. After Google reorganized as Alphabet and Niantic spun out on its own, Nintendo asked if it could buy in.
“They’re really excited about taking that idea out to emerging markets, where the phone may be the only piece of interactive technology that someone has access to,” Hanke said. “There’s a whole set of people around the world who are aware of Pokémon, but have never had the opportunity to play the game.”
He noted that the investors consider Pokémon Go to be the first of many games that “break out of the living room.” Niantic continues to support Ingress, a more adult-minded sci-fi game that similarly revolves around its players traveling from place to place in the real world.
Hanke said he expected all of the things the company has learned from Ingress to appear in some form in Pokémon Go. For example, the company may organize events for players of the new game to meet up and play together in the real world, similar to the Ingress events that have long driven playtime in that game. Ingress currently has monthly active players “in the seven digits,” Hanke added.
The leaders of the round were Nintendo and the Pokémon Company, which is a separate entity co-owned by Nintendo and the popular video game series’ Japanese developer, Game Freak. Google’s investment points to the fact that even as an independent company, Niantic has privileged access to the search giant’s mapping data, for use in its location-based games.
In September 2015, it was announced that Niantic is co-developing Pokémon GO with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for iOS and Android. The following month, Niantic announced Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest $30 million ($20 million upfront with an additional $10 million conditioned upon the company achieving certain milestones) in it to support the growth of the company and its products. In February 2016, Niantic announced that it secured an additional $5 million in Series A funding including investment from venture capital firms Alsop Louie Partners and You & Mr. Jones Brandtech Ventures as well as angel investors Lucas Nealan, Cyan Banister and Scott Banister. While adding more support for the growth of the company, this investment enabled Niantic to bring in strategic industry pioneers including the addition of Gilman Louie to its board.
I have read all of the responses to-date and pretty much agree. I also have PCN and NCV.
Not interested in annuities, but also invest in several individual stocks -- although the last year and a half, I haven't made much of a show with the stocks.
Have been retired since 2000. During the interim have held Pimco CEFs, NVC, REITs, utilities for income (off and on).
You are smart to be looking ahead!