Niantic announced today that long-time Oculus employee Dan Morris, Head of Developer Relations, is joining as the company’s new Director of Developer Relations as Niantic ramps up its Lightship AR platform, which aims to bring to third-party developers the same ‘world scale’ tech that enables Pokémon Go.

Dan Morris has been at Oculus since 2015, spending four years at the Head of Store, and another two years as the Head of Developer Relations, according to his LinkedIn profile. Niantic announced today that he’s moving to the company to take on the role of Director of Developer Relations.

Dan Morris | Image courtesy Niantic

“There’s no other job in the world that I would have left for but this one,” he said, according to the company’s announcement.

Morris will largely be focused on interfacing with developers who are using Niantic’s Lightship ARDK, a platform of capabilities which gives third-party developers access to the kinds of tools that make Pokémon Go’s ‘world-scale’ gameplay possible.

“This is a planet-sized opportunity for thousands of developers, given the size of the global smartphone installed base. Apps built with Lightship are going to change the world, and I’m really eager to get developers underway on their journey,” said Morris.

Lightship will be about more than just the geo-location functionality of Pokémon Go, however. The company is positioning the platform to support a full range of immersive AR capabilities, with the underlying map forming a shared foundation which will allow users in the same space to have multiplayer experiences. Lightship is currently in a private beta phase.

Beyond Niantic’s AR platform, the company is teasing AR hardware and software of its own. Earlier this year Niantic showed a prototype of Pokémon Go with immersive AR, multiplayer functionality running on HoloLens 2. Not long later, the company was teasing its own AR glasses. Though neither project has seen a formal product announcement yet.

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  • kontis

    Calling anything displayed on a mobile phone’s screen AR is as laughable as saying that people 30 years ago paying Wolfenstein 3D on CRT monitors were experiencing VR.

    Even if that’s in some context kinda true it’s practically irrelevant, so maybe we should stop this BS?

    Mixing actual XR with fake XR is turning this industry into a mess and only less people will be treating it seriously.

    I remember how in the early days of Oculus devkits every old low fov HMD was “VR”, even without any tracking. No one cared about that BS definition for valid reasons. Same with this smartphone AR silliness. Its relevancy in Pokemon GO’s success is literally ZERO, so maybe media should stop pretending.

    We are at least a decade away from consumer smartlgasses, so all of it is basically just science fiction daydreaming. The whole “AR” functionality gimmick is currently pursued for nothing but marketing.

    Also: Instagram and snapchat filters are filters. Cooler and more advanced than old filters but still: filters.

    • Ad

      The issue is that the best software set ups are only mobile. Can the Lynx even use ARCore, let alone ARKit?

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    • Innovation Investor

      Read between the lines. This is the start of an interactive planet-scale platform. Obviously, the goal is to transition to AR glasses once they are ready for consumer adoption.

  • Ad

    Smh, VR headsets only have roomscale and AR is already at worldscale,

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But AR is boring and should not be played on public roads..

    • Innovation Investor

      Isn’t that the point of VR? TO bring worldscale perspective to your own space. No one’s going to be playing VR in the public spaces.

    • dk

      not sure what u mean ….that play on word didn’t make much sense
      I think u meant vr replaces the world and ar can augment the whole world

      ….but there will be one day small glasses capable of both great ar and great vr ….the facebook proof of holographic lens display stack in sunglasses form factor is one example for that