Niantic renames Real World Platform to Lightship, offering more access

Access to suite of tools that power Niantic games

Niantic renames Real World Platform to Lightship, offering more access

Niantic has launched a private beta for its new Augmented Reality Developer Kit (ARDK).

The Pokémon GO maker announced the release alongside the renaming of its Real World Platform to Niantic Lightship, which enables developers to build their own immersive and imaginative AR applications.

After originally launching earlier in 2021 into a private alpha, the toolset has now focused on improvements for three main areas.

This includes:

  • real-time mapping, where smartphone camera technology combines with a neural network to map an environment;
  • semantic segmentation, which helps to distinguish between varied characteristic (make virtual objects feel more real); and a
  • more robust multiplayer functionality, allowing up to eight players can share the same AR experience

Niantic Lightship also works with phones that have LiDAR, including iPhone 12 Pro models.

Industry standard

"Niantic Lightship encompasses the full Niantic platform, including the suite of tools and services that power Niantic games, from Ingress to Pokémon GO to our partnership with Nintendo to bring the Pikmin universe to our community," reads the blog post.

"Niantic Lightship sets the industry standard for mapping and shared, planetary-scale AR experiences.

Anyone interested in signing up for the private beta of Niantic Lightship ARDK can do so here.

Deputy Editor

Matthew Forde is the deputy editor at and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @MattForde64 talking about stats, data and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.