• Creator of Pokémon GO, valued at $9 billion, to use new funding to build metaverse

  • Niantic, the developer of the popular augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokémon Go, is planning to use newly raised funds to build a “real-world” metaverse.

    The company officially announced Monday that it closed a $300 million funding round from technology-focused investment manager Coatue, bringing the company’s valuation to $9 billion.

    Coatue is known as a major investor in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, backing companies such as blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, cryptocurrency startup Fireblocks, and blockchain security firm CertiK. The company also recently participated in a $555 million funding round for cryptocurrency fintech startup MoonPay.

    “Niantic is building an AR platform based on a 3D map of the world, which we believe will play a key role in the next transformation of computing,” said Matt Mazzeo, general partner at Coatue.” He added: “We are excited to work with Niantic as we see this infrastructure supporting the real-world meta-universe and helping to drive the next step in the evolution of the Internet.

    Niantic has not explicitly stated that its meta-universe will implement blockchain technology, unforgeable tokens (NFTs) or any aspect of cryptocurrency.

    “We’re building a future where the real world is overlaid with digital creations, entertainment and information that make it more magical, fun and rich,” said John Hanke, Niantic’s founder and CEO.

    Unlike Facebook, which renamed its brand Meta in October to demonstrate its commitment to virtual reality development, Niantic wants to develop technology that brings people closer to the outside world.” At Niantic, we believe that humans are happiest when their virtual worlds lead them to the physical world.Hanke said, “Unlike the metaverse of science fiction, the real-world metaverse will use technology to improve our experience of the world as we have known it for thousands of years.

    Niantic’s Pokemon Go, which launched in 2016, is one of the most successful mobile games of all time, with revenues reportedly crossing the $5 billion mark earlier this year. Some players in the blockchain industry have taken inspiration from Pokemon Go, with IoTeX launching its “Pebble Go” project, which aims to incorporate real-world data into the NFT using verifiable GPS information.

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