Pokemon Go developer Niantic is launching its first new IP in a decade: Peridot. The AR-focused, location-based pet simulator is out today for iOS and Android, and it looks to be a massive technological leap from Niantic’s previous AR and location-based endeavors.
Peridot puts each player in charge of a Peridot (or Dot), a cute and mythical creature that can be raised from a baby to an adult. Players pet, play with, walk, and train their Dot, each of which has its own completely unique appearance and “DNA” of sorts. Like a little Tamagotchi, Dots can express their needs for food and stimulation, and will grow as those needs are met.
Using Niantic’s Lightship platform, Dots can also dynamically interact with the real world, as unlike previous Niantic endeavors, the game is fully in AR. Dots are able to differentiate between different kinds of terrain, different objects, and even other humans and animals. Their movements in AR, at least from company-provided footage, also seem to be far more intelligent than what we’ve seen with Pokemon Go, with Dots moving realistically around obstacles and across distances. In my early hands-on time with Peridot, I’ve seen Dots jump onto chairs, desks, move behind furniture, chase balls under the couch, and even sit in a colleague’s open hands.
Aside from raising Dots, one of the main goals of Peridot is to “diversify the species” by breeding adult Dots with those of other players to create new Dots with new sets of unique DNA. Dots can be bred by working together with other players using Niantic’s social app, Campfire, to connect with other players and their Dots. Rare traits can be unlocked through various means, and Dots can take on different archtypes resembling mythical creatures and real animals, with new archtypes to be introduced during in-game events. However, while Peridot is free to play, it does cost real money to hatch each new Dot – you need an item called a “Nest” that costs $4.99. It is unclear if players will be able to acquire free Nests through events or other activities in the future.
Additionally, Peridot will include a feature called Amazon Anywhere, which integrates Amazon shopping to purchase Peridot merchandise in the real world through an in-game store.
Long-term, Niantic says its vision is to release Peridot not just on mobile devices, but eventually on future AR hardware, including wearable MR or AR glasses. Peridot is now available for download on iOS and Android devices.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
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Author: Rebekah Valentine