Niantic has announced that it is launching its flagship Lightship program in browsers.
The Lightship Augmented Reality Development Kit (ARDK) was created specifically for the development of AR games, with features that allow for the creation of real-time 3D mesh maps via smartphone cameras and semantic segmentation, helping ensure that virtual objects interact with real-world surfaces correctly.
Niantic are calling this release “a major milestone for the web and AR,” giving brands a WebAR tool that not only recognises a users location, but gives them access to information which enables better integration of virtual content into that place.
Niantic also states that the new development will make WebAR more accessible to consumers through smartphone browsers without the use of an app, giving users more reasons to explore the real world around them by integrating AR like never before.
Setting sail for new horizons
Lightship VPS (Visual Positioning System) for Web helps developers transform everyday locations into experiential destinations. It does this by anchoring AR content to locations and enabling virtual objects to interact with the space.
VPS-activated locations can be added to Niantic’s AR map by developers. Developers can also make use of over 100 thousand such locations at launch to create their own WebAR experiences.
Niantic states that VPS-activated locations aren’t just limited to streetscapes and public landmarks but can be any publicly accessible place such as parks, passes, and businesses.
Niantic has long been one of the leading names in AR, thanks in part to the success of titles such as Pokémon Go and Ingress. However, thus far AR games have only achieved great success on handheld devices.
This move represents the latest effort by Niantic to increase the profile of augmented reality. Last month, we listed the company as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.