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When Pokemon Go took off like a rocket, other developers understandably wanted to dabble in the same location-based gaming pool. They're now getting that chance thanks to Google, who are officially opening up their Google Maps platform to game developers to make development of location-based games that much easier.

The initiative is divided into three parts: developers get access to Google Maps data, Google is releasing a Unity development kit to make it easier to incorporate said data into a game, and Google is releasing an API to let developers design experiences around locations in the real world. Unity is one of the most popular game engines in the world, and according to Google product manager Clementine Jacoby, their new Unity SDK "does all the heavy lifting" so that developers won't need to be fluent in maps.

Developers have been asking Google for help ever since Pokemon Go's success, so the idea of this entire endeavor is to make the development as painless as possible. Things like roads and buildings are turned into objects that can be easily manipulated, transforming entire landscapes to suit the game's needs. The API will make it easier to designate locations of interest, like spawn points or resting areas.

There are already three high-profile games in the works. Jurassic World Alive, The Walking Dead: Our World, and Ghostbusters World are already in development, with the developers partnered up with Google. Of course, Pokemon Go developer Niantic has been hard at work on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which is due for release later this year.



This is a space that's about to become very crowded very quickly, and I think it's a safe bet that a game's popularity is going to be directed tied to the license that's being used. In the case of Jurassic World Alive, it's a great opportunity for a tie-in experience that's a bit more immersive than the usual thrown-together mobile game.

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