New Tool From Niantic Aims to Make Web-based XR Easier to Build

Pokémon GO developer Niantic announced it’s releasing a new visual editor and “powerful web gaming engine” called Niantic Studio, which aims to let creatives build immersive XR, 3D experiences, and casual web games.

Niantic Studio is essentially the company’s evolution of its subscription-based AR content development platform 8th Wall, which it acquired in 2022. Today, 8th Wall includes a number of tools for making AR content, including location-based experiences and a host of other stuff primarily targeted at mobile users.

Now available for free in public beta for 8th Wall developers, Studio goes one step further by giving developers a visual interface that Niantic says “makes everything you create accessible and visible in real time,” allowing users of all skill levels to start building with 8th Wall.

Image courtesy Niantic

As a web-based tool, Studio includes the ability to create everything from AR scenes that use Face Effects or World Tracking to more complex 3D web games and immersive XR experiences, the company says, noting it will add more of its existing AR features to Studio throughout the beta.

Studio is a completely new approach to building immersive XR and 3D experiences with Niantic 8th Wall,” the company says. “With Studio, we’ve completely overhauled the development environment, moving from a code-only interface to an intuitive visual editor that combines the speed and power of the web with the robust tools needed to create more realistic 3D web games and XR experiences.”

Built on a Entity Component System (ECS) gaming structure, Niantic’s new web gaming engine is said to simplify complex development tasks, not only letting users quickly build and edit 3D scenes in real-time, but also enter a ‘Play Mode’ so you can preview experiences and even make changes while your project plays that save automatically.

Studio is available for free in public beta to 8th Wall developers starting today. New users interested in trying out 8th Wall and its new Studio game engine can sign up for a free 14-day trial before plonking down any cash, which bottoms out at $9 per month for the ‘Starter’ tier when paid annually.

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While both the platform and its resultant content is indeed web-based, it’s uncertain at this time whether Studio is focusing on adhering to the WebXR standard, which includes support for a broad range of XR headsets which can access content through supported web browsers, including Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox to name a few. We’ll update this article when/if that becomes more clear.

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