Niantic is known for turning popular franchises into successful augmented reality (AR) mobile games like "Pokémon Go" and "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite." Now, it seems like the next big brand to receive the AR treatment from the game developer will be the popular multiplayer board game, Catan.
Play Catan in the real world
Last month, the company behind The Settlers of Catan, often shortened to Catan, revealed at a board game conference in Germany that it was working on an "upcoming massively multiplayer location based game" inspired by the colony-building game called, "Catan: World Explorers."
The game's official website is already live and the description reveals that the upcoming AR game will transform the whole world into one "giant game of CATAN." Players will also be able to "harvest, trade, and build in the real-world as cities and landmarks are transformed into opportunities to collect resources and build settlements."
The main gameplay screen is quite similar to that of "Pokémon Go" and "Harry Potter Wizards Unite" from a GPS-enabled map view to icons placed on the bottom of the screen. Players will be able to collect and trade resources, build and expand settlements, construct roads and devise strategies as they race against their friends to win Victory Points.
The game also appears to have landmarks similar to Pokéstops/Gyms in "Pokémon Go" or Inns/Fortresses in the Harry Potter game, where players can collect resources and build settlements.
How is Niantic involved?
Niantic's fingerprints are all over the code and it is understandable why Catan would partner up with the game developer. The San Francisco-based company has a proven track record in the AR mobile gaming arena.
Will Catan: World Explorers succeed?
That being said, there is a possibility that "Catan: World Explorers" may not achieve the same level of success as some of Niantic's other offerings when you take into consideration the game's target audience -t he demographic of people who are both avid Catan players and mobile gamers is relatively small.
However, that may not necessarily be the intention. Niantic has been gradually trying to establish itself as an AR platform as an extension to its game studio identity. It doesn't have to worry about whether how well a game will do and instead focus on convincing other companies to make games using its AR technology, which it refers to as the Niantic Real World Platform.
Niantic's Real World Platform
After the launch of Pokémon Go, Niantic shifted its focus on taking the AR tech it had already created and opened it up for third parties to access and build upon. Niantic's AR platform includes a huge database of real world locations, the game engine and the server architecture that come together to create the whole real world game experience.