SALT LAKE CITY — Just when you thought it couldn't get any better than the mobile app Pokemon Go, it does.
Niantic Labs, the company that created Pokemon Go, is working on their next hit app. Instead of using inspiration from the popular anime series Pokemon, the creators are targeting another cultural icon with a big fan base — Harry Potter.
The company plans to release its next augmented-reality mobile experience called "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" in 2018.
"Niantic Labs had tremendous success with Pokémon Go, which paired their expertise in building location-based augmented reality mobile experiences with a top-flight IP with a ravenous fan base," TechCrunch wrote. "So, it stands to reason that we should expect a similar fan response to 'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,' an AR title set to launch in 2018, co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and its new sub brand Portkey Games."
Little is known about the new app, but TechCrunch reports it will use the Niantic game Ingress which allows players to interact with their physical environment in both the real and virtual worlds, similarly to Pokemon Go.
A press release from Niantic said the game would allow players to cast spells, roam the streets and team up with others to put an end to destructive beasts.
"Almost five years ago Niantic launched Ingress, our first augmented reality mobile game, turning real-world streets, neighborhoods and cities into a global game board, and bringing people together in a shared digital reality," the press release stated. "The incentives it created for exploration, exercise and real-world social interaction helped spawn a global community of fans, united by their shared experience, and laid the foundations for Niantic's real-world AR gaming platform."
Writers at TechRadar hope the new app will allow them to collect and mix potions, use their phones like a wand and duel with other players, although none of these things have yet been confirmed.
According to BBC, rumors circulated last year that a Harry Potter game was in the works, but it was eventually debunked. That no longer seems the case, with this new app set to debut next year.
Many are hopeful about its success.
"I think the Harry Potter game is a huge deal," Piers Harding-Rolls of IHS Markit consultancy told the BBC. "If you look at the different major franchises out there, I don't think there are many that could do Pokemon Go justice as a follow-up."
Here is what some people had to say on Twitter about the release.