Pokémon Go fans are finally getting the ability to message other players and arrange meetups – albeit via a companion app.
Campfire is a new social app from Pokémon Go maker Niantic which will show live Pokémon Go features, such as gyms and active raids, as well as other players who have opted to show their location.
The app, which is set to launch this summer, will also plug into other Niantic games such as Ingress.
Campfire was fully unveiled this week as part of Niantic’s ongoing plans to build its suite of AR-powered games and apps into a “real-world metaverse”.
Niantic boss John Hanke has discussed his vision for the metaverse in the past, and eschewed the virtual worlds presented by other companies, accessed at home in front of a screen.
The vision presented by Niantic is one which effectively overlays itself onto the real world, visible (for now) by smartphones and potentially (in the future) via wearables like AR lens or glasses.
For now, Campfire will offer an interesting alternative for Pokémon Go players to existing social solutions on apps such as Discord.
Screenshots of the Campfire interface show a map with Pokémon Go features overlaid, and the ability to find nearby players interested in a particular activity like a raid.
The app also offers a messaging feature where you can share your live location and chat in groups.
From Niantic’s point of view, the app will likely add to the visibility of its other games – none of which have ever hit the stratospheric heights of Pokémon Go itself.
It also avoids adding messaging or social features to Pokémon Go itself, and any concerns this might raise with the family-friendly owner of the brand, The Pokémon Company.
This week Niantic also discussed its plans to further open up its Lightship game platform to other developers, whose games will presumably also get to plug into Campfire in future.