Pokemon Go creators Niantic has begun rolling out another new app this week, but this time, it's not a game. Instead, it's a social app called "Campfire" which is intended to help Niantic's players "discover new people, places and experiences around them." This app has already been in testing during a beta phase with that preview limited only to Ingress players, but in the coming months, Pokemon Go players should see the option to test it out, too.
Back in May, Niantic talked about this app but did not call it "Campfire" at the time. Select Ingress players were given the option to use features such as the ability to locate local communities of players, the option to add other Niantic users as friends, and other useful social systems. Niantic hoped these features and the Campfire app would foster "real-world social connections" propped up by its games which are already quite social in nature.
Those same features are still present in Campfire now and will be when Pokemon Go players gain access. Niantic said players will be able to do things like directly message each other and organize groups to coordinate things like raids or gym battles. Players will also be able to see when others are nearby by using the app's map, and after finding these players in this manner, you can use the other social features like the messaging system or the ability to add them as friends.
For Pokemon Go, specifically, Niantic shared a couple of ways this Campfire app might prove useful.
"In Pokémon GO, Trainers can also share Raid locations with friends in a direct message – or group chat – making it easy to get a team together quickly and efficiently," Niantic said. "Or if you're playing on your own, you can tap a specific place on the map and you'll see the option to add a "Flare" to that location. Think of Flares like a call-to-action for everyone who sees it, encouraging other Trainers to head there and join in on the fun."
Pokemon Go's anniversary event is coming up soon, but judging from the lack of release date for this Campfire app, it does not seem as though it'll be ready to players to utilize by the time that event gets underway.
This announcement comes just after Niantic canceled several projects and also laid off staff members. Canceled games included a Transformers title as well as other codenamed projects.