Niantic are teasing that Harry Potter: Wizard’s Unite is coming soon, speaking at a 5G event in London.
John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO and founder, talked at the event about how Harry Potter Wizards Unite was coming soon, adding “we’re really excited to be partnering with EE.”
The location-based Potter game is going to be huge, and it’s already soft-launched in New Zealand and Australia, where the consensus is that Niantic’s newest hot property could be every bit as successful of Pokemon Go. The game, created by Niantic in partnership with Warner Bros. Games San Francisco, will likely feel similar, as it’s another AR game based on a huge property. However, Niantic say that there’s plenty going on that’ll make it feel different.
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Soft-launching is a process where developers push out games in a country where a decent amount of people speak English like Canada, Australia or New Zealand. They can use players jumping on to the game to gather analytics on how players engage with the game’s systems, in addition to whether they’ve got the pricing right for microtransactions.
It’s a useful phase for mobile games ahead of launch, although it’s hard to say exactly when the game will launch after this stage. Previous rumours have suggested summer 2019, and Hanke’s statement makes that rumour look very strong.
Niantic should have a deep understanding of how to make these location-based AR games work. They had success, technologically at least, with Niantic. This span out into Pokemon Go, which saw London full of wannabe Pokemon trainers, something duplicated around the world. That game is still huge today, equal parts the additions Niantic have made to the gameplay and the Pokemon license. With Harry Potter, they should bring even more mega-fans into the fold.
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As part of the event, EE has announced that it is partnering up with Niantic to be the exclusive telecom launch partner in the UK for the game. As part of this partnership, EE customers will have the chance to play exclusive content for the game, with EE locations popping up as sponsored Inns and Fortresses, offering a higher reward payout and special quests.
It seems like EE and Niantic are keen to work together to make the 5G experience of the game as good as it can be. It’s interesting to see what that could mean in practice, as 5G networks start to roll out around the country.