Niantic is working on a Harry Potter AR mobile game, as Techcrunch reported. It will be co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and its new subsidiary Portkey Games. The game will launch in 2018.
Niantic’s Pokémon Go is a giant hit for Android and iOS. It has generated 752 million total downloads and has earned $1.2 billion in revenue.The AR game took inspiration from Niantic’s Ingress, which has players walking around the real world as they play. In Pokémon Go, you walk around to find Pokémon, collect items, and capture gyms. Many of these things happen at real-world landmarks.
We’ve reached out to Niantic for comment and will update this story if we hear from them.
Harry Potter could be a natural fit for this style of game. In Pokémon Go, players choose one of three factions to represent. While Niantic had to invent these for its game, Harry Potter has always had four distinct “houses” in its universe: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. The Potter world also has magical creatures, if Niantic wants to replicate the Pokémon Go experience of capturing and training digital monsters.
Harry Potter’s history with gaming started about the same time as the first movie, The Sorcerer’s Stone, came out in 2001. For years, they were mostly licensed games tied into the film releases. A Quidditch game in 2013 and small series of licensed Lego titles (which also just retold the events of the movies) stand out as exceptions. Fans have been clamoring for a more standalone and immersive Harry Potter gaming experience. Niantic has a chance to deliver that.