We’re all wizards now — ‘Pokémon Go’ developer sets its sights on Harry Potter

harry potter niantic announced
Niantic, the developer of 2016’s breakout augmented reality hit Pokémon Go, announced its follow-up: Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, set in J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world of Harry Potter. Niantic is developing the AR title in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games label, promising more details about the game in 2018.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will follow the same basic principle as Pokémon Go: That the real world hides magical secrets just beneath the surface, though details on any particulars of what the game looks and plays like are nowhere to be found currently. “By exploring real-world neighborhoods and cities across the globe,” Niantic’s press release reads, “players will go on adventures, learn and cast spells, discover mysterious artifacts, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters.”

Pokémon Go and Niantic’s first major AR game, Ingress, both relied on a faction-driven metagame to connect players and structure the whole experience. Niantic’s release focuses on the individual role-playing experience of going on adventures, collecting items, and learning spells, but gives no indication of any larger structure. Rowling’s obvious analog in the world of Harry Potter is the house system at Hogwart’s Academy, where a sentient hat sorts students into one of four student houses based on their personalities.

Late summer 2016 was utterly defined by Pokémon Go for a lot of people, especially if they lived in a major city, sparking a flurry of interest in AR games. Players, critics, and bystanders were all enchanted by what seemed like a wholly new type of game, using the tools of video games to get people engaging with the real world around them. Unfortunately, the magic wore off pretty quickly, and a lack of features available at launch (such as any meaningful way to interact with other players) meant that the player base rapidly atrophied except for all but the most diehard trainers. Steady updates up through the present have made for a more rewarding game than what most players experienced at launch, but a rushed release and chronic server issues meant that most players left before they would ever see it.

The success of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will depend on whether the game can sustain a critical mass of its early adopters. The massive release of Pokémon Go no doubt taught Niantic a lot, and as a global brand Harry Potter may have stronger cache than Pokémon, so it will be interesting to see whether Niantic can not only make lightning strike twice but cultivate that spark into a steady blaze.

Gaming

Castlevania Anniversary Collection offers some of the series’ rarest games

Konami is celebrating 50 years of games with collections like the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, which now includes Kid Dracula, Castlevania II, Bloodlines, and Castlevania the Adventure. Which of these are must-play titles?
Deals

Get Kingdom Hearts 3 at its lowest price yet during Walmart’s Xbox One sale

Walmart reduced the prices on some new and popular Xbox One games. Kingdom Hearts 3 is at its lowest price yet, while Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 get some stout discounts as well.
Gaming

The best video games for kids, sorted by age group, for April 2019

There are a wealth of great games out there that both parents and kids can enjoy together. We compiled a list of 30-plus games across all genres that are sure to make family game night a great time.
Gaming

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Gaming

Get Nindie with it and check out these awesome indie games for the Switch

The Nintendo Switch's portability makes indies feel at home on the platform. Luckily, there are plenty of great titles to choose from. Here are our picks for the best Nintendo Switch indie games.
Gaming

Epic Games bans more than 1,000 cheaters in 1st week of Fortnite World Cup

Epic Games has already banned more than 1,000 cheaters in the Fortnite World Cup. The developer is taking cheating seriously, especially as players are competing for a $1 million prize pool in every week of the qualifiers.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 DLC characters reportedly leaked: Who’s next after Shang Tsung?

A datamine on Mortal Kombat 11 reportedly revealed all the DLC characters that will be added to the game's expansive roster. The leak corroborates the hint that the anti-hero Spawn is on his way to joining the fighting game.
Gaming

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Apex Legends update 1.1.1 failed in fixing hitbox issue of Caustic, Gibraltar

Respawn Entertainment tried to make Caustic and Gibraltar more playable with Apex Legends version 1.1.1. The Fortified passive ability is meant to reduce incoming damage by 10%, but it is not working properly.
Gaming

Tired of the same PS4 annual releases? Try one of these indie games instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.