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Niantic announced today that it’s making an update to its mobile title, Peridot that will supposedly give its virtual pets, the Dots, more life. Using Generative AI, Dots can more realistically interact with real-world objects with their augmented space, which Niantic says will make them behave more like real-life pets. Niantic also claims it to be one of the first AR games to use Gen AI at scale.

According to the company, Dots empowered by Gen AI will recognize objects in the real world and react to them in realistic, but unexpected ways. Examples they gave of Dots doing so include sniffing a bouquet of flowers, or rolling in a plate of food. This happens thanks to Niantic’s ARDK, which process 3D objects in the real world and contextualizes them with words.

The words are then given to Llama 2, Meta’s proprietary LLM. Llama 2 uses the words of the objects, as well as others that describe the individual Dot’s personality, to generate an appropriate, in-character reaction. According to Niantic, this is the first of many instances of the platform using new technology to make the game more interesting or realistic.

Earlier this year, Niantic laid off 230 employees and closed its Los Angeles-based office, canceling or sunsetting several projects. According to the company, this allowed its developers to focus on Pokemon Go!, Monster Hunter Now and Pikmin Bloom, as well as in-house games like Peridot. A former employee also filed suit against the company in July, claiming it fostered a negative workplace culture and gender-based discrimination.

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