Interested in learning what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Register today.


Niantic is announcing Lightship VPS for Web, joining its visual positioning system to the 8th Wall platform. The new browser based tech anchors WebAR content to specific locations and enables virtual objects to interact with that space.

The technology augments a location and enables developers to create an infinite amount of unique experiences. This can drive traffic to specific places, like scenic parks or specific stores, to engage users in brand new ways. The 8th Wall platform can also let devs create events across multiple locations, like digital scavenger hunts by combining multiple VPS experiences.

“At Niantic, we believe that the real-world metaverse should get people exploring and connecting in the world around them,” said Niantic boss John Hanke, in a statement to GamesBeat. “Bringing Lightship VPS to the web will allow developers to build immersive WebAR experiences that are anchored to real-world locations all around us. 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 tool.”

Lightship VPS lets developers anchor AR content to real world locations with centimeter precision, thanks to Niantic’s AR world map. By merging Lightship VPS with 8th Wall devs can create VPS-enabled experiences that work directly in a mobile browser. More than that, it gives access to a 3D mesh of a location to interested devs.

This lets devs play with occlusion and physics and adds a greater level of interactivity between virtual objects and the physical world. AR experiences, usually, happen regardless of the setting. Now digital objects can actually interact with the location.

Developers helping developers

Developers can add VPS-enabled locations directly to Niantic’s AR map. They can choose from over 100,000 VPS-activated locations other developers have already added. Locations on the AR map can be anything; streets, parks, businesses, landmarks and more. 

Niantic’s AR map is powered by scans of real locations provided by devs, surveyors and players. Millions of locations, photographs and scans have been provided by the community all across the world. These provide essential data that lets Lightship serve localization with minimal issues.

Developers can even create and simulate an AR experience remotely, thanks to other devs and the Niantic community’s efforts.

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.