Google Japan veteran to head up location focused on new platform creation

Pokémon Go and Ingress developer Niantic opens Tokyo office

AR and mapping specialist Niantic has strengthened its presence in Tokyo.

The firm has opened a new office in the city’s Minato Ward, which will be led by Google Japan’s former head of GEO partnerships, Setsuto Murai.

According to CEO John Hanke, it will focus on helping build a new platform for the firm’s core strengths in augmented reality and location-based interaction.

Niantic began as an off-shoot of Google, creating the tech giant’s location-based online game Ingress before gaining independence in August following Google’s transformation into Alphabet.

It is currently helping Nintendo create Pokémon Go, a similarly AR-based mobile spin-off of the pocket monster franchise.

Niantic secured $30 million in investment from a combination of Google, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company in October.

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