Everything You Need To Know About John Hanke – The Man Who Broke The Internet With Pokémon Go

Pokémon GO is everywhere. In just a week, it has become a worldwide sensation, and caused massive profits for Nintendo. But did you know that it took 20 years for creator John Hanke to make Pokémon GO to what it is today?

John Hanke, the CEO and Founder of “Pokemon Go” developer Niantic, grew up in Cross Plains, Texas, just east of Abilene.

The Texas man’s expertise for blending real-world maps and addictive gameplay dates back to 2004, when he joined the Google Geo team. Yes, the group that created Google Maps and Google Street View.

Hanke went on to co-found Keyhole, which bridged the gap between geospatial data visualization on high-end computers and the navigation apps we all carry in our pockets. Google acquired Keyhole for $35 million  in 2004, and Hanke stayed on to lead the development of Google Earth, Maps, and StreetView.

Leaving the Google Geo team in 2010 to start the original Niantic Labs within Google, Hanke’s passion for leveraging the real world into a game bore fruit two years later with “Ingress.” The augmented reality massively multiplayer online (MMO) game tasked players on two different teams with locating and capturing “portals” at local landmarks. Sound familiar?

He then launched Niantic Labs inside Google to focus on next-gen games, and spun it out as a separate company last year. Hanke’s company cut its teeth on augmented reality mobile gaming with “Ingress” before developing “Pokemon Go” for Nintendo.

It’s not the first time Hanke has propelled a breakthrough technology into the mainstream. As an MBA student at Haas in the mid-1990s, he co-founded a company that developed one of the first online games to allow hundreds of people to play together in a virtual environment.

The success of Pokémon Go thus go to show that John Hanke and his team at Niantic definitely brought the world (well, parts that are lucky enough to play it) to its knees by creating the next evolution of real world gaming.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Hanke’s company cut its teeth on augmented reality mobile gaming with “Ingress””

    Ingress IS NOT augmented reality.
    Ingress doesn’t make use of the camera any more than Google Maps does.

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