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Niantic Labs's new developer platform Lightship enters beta

A woman holds up her cell phone as she plays the Pokemon Go game in Lafayette Park in front of the White House in Washington, DC, July 12, 2016.

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Niantic's new Lightship platform will let developers create experiences using the same tech as Pokémon Go.

Niantic Labs, creator of Pokémon Go and other augmented reality games, is rebranding its development platform from the Niantic Real World Platform to Niantic Lightship. As part of the rebrand, the San Francisco-based company is opening the platform to more developers as part of a new private beta phase.

The goal is to enable more developers to use the technology behind apps like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite to create immerse, multiplayer AR games that blend with the real world in increasingly sophisticated fashion. That in turn helps make Niantic's Augmented Reality Developer Kit (ARDK) an instrumental toolset for building the next generation of AR, which is poised to include apps and experiences on both smartphones, mixed-reality headsets, and AR glasses like the kind Apple is rumored to be working on. Niantic is now inviting developers to apply for access, either to ink a publishing deal with the company or to access a subset of its ARDK for free.

"Niantic is building the 3D map of the world hand-in-hand with its player base to power new kinds of immersive AR experiences," Kei Kawai, Niantic's vice president of product management, said. "With the Niantic Lightship Platform and ARDK, we want to provide the richest selection of development tools and technologies, so any developer can create their own unique experiences."

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