by Johanna Mischke

February 15, 2017

Go Out and Play – Interview with Anne Beuttenmüller, Niantic

Anne Beuttenmüller joined Google 9 years ago. After more than 6 years working in Ad Sales, consulting for media, creative and performance agencies, she joined Google’s internal startup Niantic Labs. When 2015 Niantic Inc. became an independent company she decided to leave Google to join Niantic, Inc. and now she is responsible for product marketing across EMEA. Anne is a passionate Ingress and Pokémon GO Player. Check out our interview with Anne below:

Niantic turned the way we interact with games on such a large scale with Pokémon GO last year. Of course there were AR apps out there but no other company was able to connect the digital and the real world as playful as you did. Did you expect this success when the game first came out and who was the major brain behind this idea?

The idea behind Niantic, initiated by John Hanke, is to create games that make people go out to play: Niantic is running Ingress for quite some years now, Niantic’s first location-based AR games, in which players are joining one of two factions to capture portals all over the world. Those virtual portals are connected to actual landmarks, historical and special locations, so players can even engage with their environment when Ingress brings them around. Combining the beloved Pokémon Universe with our real world expertise gave us the huge opportunity of bringing this experience to a much broader audience.

Have you already developed or are you developing apps geared towards wearables as well? If so, can you give some examples?

Pokémon Plus is a unique wearable device, exclusively designed for Pokémon GO. It allows catching Pokémon without having to pull out your smartphone. Also Pokémon GO is available for Apple Watch.

Digitalization is a major topic for many industries right now. How can Niantic help companies with entering into the digital age. How could, for example, a wearable company benefit from your skills and services, or an insurance company or a network provider?

For both Ingress and Pokémon GO, we’re cooperating with many companies – some partnerships are regional, others are global. AXA, the insurance company, is an Ingress partner, for example. All their local offices are special portals in our game, and Ingress players do have the chance to obtain special items when visiting these portals. In Japan, we have a cooperation with McDonald’s for Pokémon GO, in the U.S. with Starbucks.

Do you personally wear (or have worn) a wearable?

Yes, I am regularly wearing the Pokémon GO Plus device for catching Pokémon and collecting item. Back in our old Google days I have been wearing and testing Google Glass.