Niantic announces a developer contest worth one million dollars

This one goes out to all Trainers with a technical background. Yesterday, Niantic announced a developer contest called Beyond Reality Developer Contest that offers a chance to win a share of the prize pool worth more than one million USD. The contest challenges teams to build “an impactful geospatial AR play experience with the Niantic Real World Platform“.

The contest is spread out into two phases:

  • Application phase: Out of all applicants, Niantic will select a group of 10 teams that have the best technical background, programming proficiency and additional skills
  • Development phase: A select group of ten teams will earn a stipend and access to the Niantic Real World Platform. Finalists will work for a three-month period, with the goal of showing off their incredible work at a Demo Day in San Francisco, hosted by Niantic

Per the rules listed in the link above, the Contest phase began on December 20th at 12:00 A.M. Pacific Time (PT) and will run through to September 6th, 2019 at 5:00 P.M. PT. Any teams must consist of 5 members and have an appointed team leader.

Surprisingly, the finalists will be brought to San Francisco/Bay Area to meet with executives and lay the groundwork for the work to come. All of the travel expenses, including a stipend for the time being in San Francisco, is covered by Niantic (roughly $70,000 USD per team).

Following completion of the Developer Stage, Developer Stage team prizes will be awarded to teams which finish in the top three (3) places as follows:

  • First (1st) place – $300,000 USD
  • Second (2nd) place – $100,000 USD
  • Third (3rd) place – $100,000 USD

These team prizes will be split equally amongst all Developer team members, with each individual team member receiving personal payments of their share.

A glimpse into the Niantic Real World Platform

Niantic’s official blog post has also shared a high level technical overview of the NRWP (Niantic Real World Platform) and it truly looks like a lot to take in:

Let’s dissect the platform in a bit more detail:

  • Although not explicitly drawn, the Niantic Real World Platform requires both Unity development and Java server development experience to operate
  • NRWP covers all aspects of running a game, from Live events to Analytics and IAP purchases
  • Anti-Cheat Security is based on Machine Learning, which means it should get smarter and more accurate over time
  • Marketing channels and analytics are built into the platform alongside native plugins for account management, inventory and the in-game map
  • Key parts of the server side code are shared across the platform, including the “core engine”, in-app purchases, social aspects, anti cheat measures and cloud services
  • Map objects (portals / gyms / PokeStops) and AR data are shared across the platform
  • Your history as a player (“Player Action Data”) is logged through the NRWP rather than through third party services

The quality of the code can’t really be inferred from a diagram, but given the amount of features that the Real World Platform offers, it sure looks impressive. We wish all the best to contest applicants – may the best AR team win!

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