The “Visual Positioning System” is Niantic’s next step towards its long-term vision of an augmented reality cloud. The feature will be released in a development version at the end of May.
Pokémon Go has almost single-handedly stood for smartphone augmented reality games since 2016. However, a weak point from a technical point of view is the sometimes inaccurate GPS data, which does not always precisely locate the real player on the virtual map. Niantic wants to eliminate this weakness with a “Visual Positioning System” (VPS) for its AR interface Lightship. Thanks to a shared 3D map, VPS is supposed to be so precise and consistent that players can view the same digital objects in the same place from different perspectives at the same time. For example, one Pokémon hunter might be in front of a digital monster and another behind it. Niantic promises an accuracy of a few centimeters. Niantic’s preparation for the AR metaverse For example, if two monsters are fighting in a meadow, several participants could position themselves around the combatants and observe them from their own perspective. Or they could gather around a spatial AR puzzle in front of a statue and unravel cogs and mechanisms together from all angles. AR developers will soon be able to implement their own ideas of this kind when Niantic rolls out the VPS update. It will be launched at the end of May 2022 along with the Lightship Summit developer event, which will take place on May 24 and 25 in San Francisco. Niantic is already touting the concept as a “worldscale” solution that synchronizes many AR-enabled systems. As RoadtoVR reports, the company is initially focusing on selected waypoints in some cities.