Pokemon Go's creators have purchased a digital startup to build a much needed feature for their games.
On Friday, Niantic Labs announced they had purchased Evertoon, a small digital media startup. Evertoon's had created an app that let users make custom animated videos using pre-made avatars. These avatars could then be controlled by typing sequences of emojis, which acted as commands and prompts.
However, Niantic doesn't seem very interested in Evertoon's existing app. Instead, Niantic is looking at Evertoon's engineering team to develop a social media platform for Pokemon Go and Ingress, as well as future planned games.
"Niniane [Wang, creator of Evertoon] and her team have been exploring innovative ways to add social mechanics to digital products, Niantic stated in a blog post announcing the purchase. "As our products and platform evolve, they will help build social systems that will benefit our entire community. We are also excited to have Niniane’s engineering leadership and team management skills, as our team grows."
Pokemon Go players in particular have long clamored for a way to organize players for raids and gym battles. Some Raid Bosses require five or more players to complete, which can be difficult to organize if players don't know other people who play the game. While some players (especially in big cities) have turned to Discord and Facebook group to help organize Pokemon Go communities, an in-game social platform would be a big help to players living in less populous areas.
However, Niantic's purchase of Evertoon likely means that we won't be seeing an in-game social platform in the immediate future. It could take months before Pokemon Go's new engineering group comes up with a system that can be integrated into the game.
As part of the purchase agreement, Evertoon will be pulling its app from app stores and discontinuing support on November 30th. Users of that app will need to download their videos onto their devices, or they'll lose them on December 1st.