Location-based AR games like Ingress, Pokemon GO, and the more recent Harry Potter: Wizards Unite are, by nature, dependent on, well, locations. The way Niantic has implemented these games require an abundant supply of location points that will make players want to go to that place. Unlike in a purely virtual world where expansion is nearly infinite, there are only a few physical places on earth that might prove interesting. That is why Niantic is launching its Wayfarer program to practically crowdsource those spots from Pokemon GO players.
It’s really a more efficient way of pinning down places that could be used as points of interest in the game. After all, Niantic can’t go all over the world to find those spots. At the same time, however, it can simply add just about any location proposed by random players. That is why it’s adding a certain level of peer review to this tool.
Niantic is basing the Wayfarer on its original Operation Portal Recon built for its first AR game Ingress. That allowed Ingress Agents, a.k.a. the players, to nominate as well as review Portals, which are, in theory, supposed to “appear” only in places of immense interest or significance to a particular location.
Niantic Wayfarer sounds very similar. Eligible players are not only allowed to nominate but also review other nominations. The short video guide gives pointers on what makes for a good Waypoint. Suggested locations include museums, art installations, and historical markers that could be turned into Portals, PokeStops, and Gyms.
Not all Pokemon GO players can become Wayfarers though Niantic hasn’t yet disclosed who can qualify. This new review system can hopefully also prevent certain local spots, particularly delicate historical landmarks, from potentially getting damaged because of a sudden influx of Pokemon GO players.