Pokémon Go developer Niantic is rolling out its Campfire social network

Pokémon Go maker Niantic has made a social app for its games — and it’s coming out very soon. The developer says that the app, called Campfire, will kick off its global rollout “in the coming days.” Campfire was originally announced in May and has been in a testing phase with ingress players over the last few months. The initial rollout will be available for “select groups of Pokémon Go players throughout the summer,” according to the developer.

The core of Campfire is a map that includes information about nearby in-game events and activities, theoretically making it easier to find folks to play with or arrange meet-ups with friends. The app includes a group and private messaging tool for your in-game friends; for Pokémon Go, for instance, you can DM a raid location to a buddy to make it easier to get together. You can also do things like add a “flare” to a location to encourage nearby players to come by if something interesting is happening. Check out the screenshots below for a better idea of ​​how the app functions:

The idea of ​​a Niantic-focused social network may seem superfluous with the glut of messaging apps already out there, but it makes some degree of sense given just how many games the company is working on. In addition to Pokémon Go and ingressNiantic also has Pikmin Bloom in the wild, along with in-development games like virtual pet sim peridot and the just-announced basketball game NBA All World.

That said, the news comes just a day after the company canceled several projects — including the previously announced Transformers: Heavy Metal — while also laying off more than 80 staff. This comes after high-profile projects like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Catan: World Explorers were shut down after less-than-stellar launches.

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