On March 22 in a blogpost on the Niantic website, Kei Kawai, Niantic’s VP of Product Management announced that the augmented reality game development company was partnering with Nintendo to “jointly develop mobile titles built on Niantic's real-world AR technology, bringing Nintendo’s beloved characters to life in new ways.”
This is exciting news for several reasons. For starters, there’s the announcement of the first Nintendo franchise that Niantic will be working on - Pikmin. This Pikmin app marks the first official title produced by Niantic’s Tokyo studio since its inception in 2018. According to the blogpost, the mobile app that the studio is developing will encourage walking and being active outside. Exercise and gaming rolled into one!
If that combination sounds familiar, then maybe you’ve heard of a little mobile game called Pokemon Go. Surprise! That game, which became a global phenomenon during its launch in 2016, was also produced by Niantic. So you know this company has an amazing track record and knows what it’s doing when it handles a popular license loved by all ages. That’s probably how this partnership with Nintendo came along.
Another reason why this news is exciting? Pikmin is only the beginning. Kawai didn’t mention any other Nintendo series specifically but stated there will be others. Which leaves us a chance to speculate. Of course, the Super Mario franchise is the first Nintendo heavy hitter to come to mind. Who wouldn’t love to hang out with Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and the rest of his pals via AR on mobile devices? Maybe we’ll get to punch AR coin blocks above our head and throw AR fireballs. How about an AR Legend of Zelda title? Finding treasure chests and solving life-sized puzzles in the real world.
There are so many beloved Nintendo series filled with charming characters. We can only hope Niantic gets to develop some excellent new titles in this partnership!
Kawai ended the blogpost by saying, “We’ll share more details about the apps in the coming months. We’re excited to continue building on this partnership as we pursue our mission of encouraging people to explore the world together.”
Image source: Pikmin 3
screenshot from Amazon