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‘Pokémon Go’ may get its own social network

Pokémon Go
Niantic Labs, maker of the wildly popular Pokémon Go and the augmented-reality adventure Ingress, has acquired social media startup Evertoon to expand its reach across mobile platforms. Rather than an acquisition, it looks like an acqu-hire: Niantic is hiring all five Evertoon employees for their social media expertise and engineering know-how, rather than a desire to take over the Evertoon property itself.

Their experience in adding social media to digital products was the reason for the hire, Niantic founder John Hanke said in a blog post. “Today I am excited to announce that we have acquired the Evertoon team, who bring with them a wealth of talent and experience in mobile products, tools for creativity, and community building.”

Evertoon released a mobile app that allowed users to create avatars based on their own likeness, which they could then manipulate to perform a variety of actions and create miniature movies or music videos. The company was founded in 2014 by Niane Wang, a Google veteran who co-founded Google Desktop.

“Our mission is to use animation to enable video creation for anyone with stories to tell, regardless of their looks, race, or age,” Evertoon said in a statement. “It has been wonderful seeing this come to fruition in our diverse community.”

The company will be shutting down its online support on November 30, although you can still continue to create animations in offline mode on your phone. “As a thank-you, we recently released 60 new animations and 13 clothing items. We hope you enjoy using these in your future videos,” the company said. The latest version of the iOS Evertoon app is now available in the App Store.

The Evertoon team will get to work adding a social platform to Pokémon Go and other upcoming Niantic games.

Although Pokémon Go is no longer the global phenomenon it once was, it still has a huge and loyal user base and generates a ton of money. Augmented reality certainly has a big future in gaming, as more than two million trainers participated in a recent “Pikachu Outbreak” event in Japan. With the release of third-generation monsters and ongoing events, this move could help to reinvigorate interest in the franchise — which remains one of the best augmented reality apps around.

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