Fans of Niantic’s augmented reality apps, like “Pokémon Go” and “Ingress Prime,” walked about 17,000 kilometers during social impact events, the developer said in a blog post on Friday. That’s almost as far as walking from New York to Tokyo twice, it said.
“In the early days at Niantic, we witnessed firsthand the powerful positive impact AR technology can have on local communities and civic engagement and have made it part of our mission to prioritize social impact in everything we do,” it said.
Niantic formalized its social impact efforts in 2016 by creating a division within the company focused solely on community events and service, encouraging players to do good, and special campaigns.
In 2018 alone, the developer worked with city governments and nonprofits worldwide to hold 142 community events. About 40,000 people came out to support charities and their local communities, Niantic said. They visited about 331 national parks, rivers, and trails. An estimated seven tons of garbage was picked up around the world, and 6.8 tons of food was collected and donated to food banks and shelters. An additional 3,900 items were also given to shelters.
Earlier this year, Niantic announced it’s partnering with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to promote world travel via its AR apps. It will also help build awareness for the UNWTO’s Travel.Enjoy.Respect campaign, which launched in August.
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The developer said fans can expect more events, activities, and partnerships with local and global organizations in 2019.
Niantic is currently working to raise a new round of capital investment, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s seeking $200 million, which will bring its total funding up to $425 million.