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Niantic Inc. opens Tokyo office

New studio will aid Pokemon mobile development, work on AR and mapping platform

Niantic Inc. has opened an office in Tokyo as it seeks to establish a platform that uses augmented reality and mapping in games.

According to Dr. Serkan Toto, who translated the news from Japanese sources, Niantic's first Japanese office was opened last week in Tokyo's Minato Ward. The team will be led by Google Japan veteran Setsuto Murai.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said that the Japanese location will help to accelerate the development of a platform built around AR and mapping. The company is also working with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company on the first ever Pokemon mobile game.

Niantic started within Google, ultimately releasing its first game, Ingress, while still a part of the online behemoth. It became independent when Google reshuffled to form Alphabet in August.

Both Google and The Pokemon Company contributed to a $20 million series A round in October. Niantic stands to receive an additional $10 million if certain performance targets are met.

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.