Niantic Brings Its Real-World Metaverse To Browsers

Lightship VPS for Web promises to catapult web-based AR technology into a brand new era.

Niantic is making the web an even more powerful place for augmented reality with the launch of Lightship VPS for Web. This first-of-its-kind browser-based technology will connect the real world with the virtual world by anchoring WebAR (browser-based augmented reality) content to locations and enabling virtual objects to interact with the physical world.

Lightship VPS for Web will change the world around you by delivering unique AR experiences that are more personalized and interactive. These reality-bending apps can transform everyday locations into breathtaking virtual experiences. By unlocking the digital twin of your surroundings, you’ll be able to engage with the world around you in totally new ways. This can be done through the traffic generated by the platform’s visual location services.

Using the 8th Wall platform, brands, agencies, and developers can create WebAR experiences accessible at specific real-world locations. These experiences can be added to the platform’s AR map to increase the reach of their content. Developers can also create multi-location AR games and experiences using the Lightship VPS for Web.

In an official press release, John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, said “At Niantic, we believe that the real-world metaverse should get people exploring and connecting in the world around them.” He continues by saying “Bringing Lightship VPS to the Web is a critical step forward for AR, enabling developers to realistically fuse digital content to the real world with precision and persistence.”

“The early demos from partners around the world are exciting to see and we know this is only the beginning. We can’t wait to see what location-based AR experiences our developer community will create with this new service.”

Credit: Niantic x 8th Wall

Developers who want to create AR experiences that are rooted in real-world locations need to first understand what their users are looking at. With the Lightship VPS, creators can now deliver immersive experiences that are both personal and persistent by using the company’s AR map to anchor content to specific locations around the world.

With the addition of this powerful system, developers can create browser-based AR experiences that require no additional software in order to access, which is something that some experts consider an obstacle to mass adoption. The platform also allows developers to access a 3D mesh of their virtual environment.

Credit: Niantic

“Today marks a major milestone for the web and augmented reality,” said Tom Emrich, Director of Product Management, 8th Wall at Niantic. “Lightship VPS unlocks extraordinary value for developers by offering them a new tool to create WebAR experiences that recognize not only where their users are in the world but also gives them access to relevant information to better integrate the virtual content with the place it is being experienced. This is another first for the browser, unlocked by Niantic’s 8th Wall platform, and makes WebAR feel more real, more personal, and even more connected to the real world than ever before.”

With the addition of over 100,000 Lightship Virtual Environments to the company’s AR map, developers can now create their own location-based webAR experiences tied to famous landmarks, streetscapes, parks, paths, local businesses, and various other public locations.

Niantic’s AR map is powered by scans of real-world locations collected by players, developers, and surveyors. Through the contributions of the community, Lightship VPS can now provide users with a deeper understanding of their local area. This level of detail allows them to confidently localize their experiences at any location.

Through the Lightship Virtual Environments, developers will be able to create and manage their own location-based webAR experiences. They can also remotely simulate their experiences using the 8th Wall platform’s Geo Browser.

Before the official release of Lightship Virtual Environments, a group of 8th Wall developers was able to beta test the software by creating their own location-based webAR experiences. These experiences have been showcased in different cities around the world, such as London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Sydney. To learn more about the capabilities of the Lightship Virtual Environments, check out the 8th Wall Discovery Hub.

According to David Loughnan, Managing Partner at Unbound, Lightship VPS for Web catapults web-based AR technology into a brand new era. It allows us to understand a user’s position and orientation in the real world and anchor persistent AR experiences onto physical objects and structures.

Credit: Niantic

“It opens up opportunities for individuals, artists, and brands to seamlessly blend virtual experiences with the real world to provide both utility and entertainment. Fundamentally VPS brings us another step closer to the concept of an alternate AR metaverse that exists all around us. The creative opportunities are boundless.”

Lightship VPS for Web is now available to all 8th Wall developers. Developers can start creating with Lightship VPS for Web by logging into their 8th Wall Workspace or signing up for a 14-day free trial at

Feature Image Credit: Niantic

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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