John Hanke shares an optimistic post about future of Niantic games in post-COVID times

John Hanke

Trainers, we wanted to re-share a post published on Niantic’s official blog, titled Looking Forward to Saying Hello World. It’s a post filled with positivity and optimism towards the upcoming months, as the COVID pandemic will hopefully gradually end.

The author of the post is John Hanke, Niantic CEO, and a hugely optimistic person on its own. Enjoy reading it and we do hope that Hanke’s hopes come true.

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Looking Forward to Saying Hello World

Dear Niantic Explorers,

Who could have predicted the last 14 months? I can’t think of a time I’ve needed to lean on the support of those around me more. Like all of you, I had to adjust to the harsh reality of how different the world looks. Hanging out in real life is the foundation Niantic was built on. Yet in order to keep those we love safe, we had to reimagine what that looked like in our games and in our events.

We made changes to help our explorers feel a sense of connection to each other despite needing to stay physically distanced. I’m incredibly grateful to all of you for navigating and adapting with us, and I’m proud of our teams for adjusting as quickly as they did. But it isn’t the same as seeing friends and family in person at a Community Day or First Saturday.

Thankfully, finally, times appear to be changing. While globally there is still much progress to be made, there is genuine hope now. We can look forward to brighter times once again.

This is a new and exciting chapter for all of us. At Niantic, it means we can start looking at ways to bring people together again in the real world, through gameplay adjustments, in-game events and finally in-person events.

We founded Niantic to create a way for people to go outside, explore, exercise, and meet friends – both new and old. Five years ago we brought the magic of Pokémon into the real world. The delight at stumbling upon a Pikachu in a park, or a Lapras by a lake caught the world’s imagination. What a wonderful sight it was to see people brought together by their (and our) shared passion.

We never imagined Central Park being swarmed by enthusiastic Trainers or 150,000 people gathering for Pokémon GO Fest in Yokohama – all sharing the same experience together.

The pandemic meant a year of staying distanced. Although we ventured out when we could, we knew it was important to adhere to health restrictions. At home the siren call of screens (and the couch) was strong.

We’ve missed adventuring with you, our community of explorers.

While like me, many turned to walking (while searching for Pokémon and Portals along the way) it wasn’t quite like being able to explore with friends. We’re fine connecting on social media as much as anyone, but it’s no substitute for being social – hanging out in-person, playing together in extraordinary places, with the people we love.

Many of us have realized how much we took things for granted and we are looking at how we can once again make exceptional in person experiences for you.

The change will not happen overnight. There will undoubtedly be bumps in the road, some trepidation, and we know there is lots of healing to do in many places. But nothing can replace the joy of seeing friends in person for a successful Raid or playful battle.

Thank you for continuing on this journey with us. I can’t wait to meet you out there.

-jh

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