This weekend saw the spread of a rumor that Niantic is working on a Harry Potter game in the same vein as Pokemon GO — but further investigation casts doubt on the source.
Ever since the release of Pokemon GO last month, there's been debate as to which other major franchises could benefit from a similar AR-based smartphone game. Many pointed to the witchcraft and wizardry of Harry Potter as a likely candidate for this kind of adaptation.
Indeed, this weekend saw reports from sites including Uproxx and HelloGiggles publish stories suggesting that Niantic was in fact working on the proposed Harry Potter GO. However, it seems that the original source of this information was spreading the news with an ulterior motive.
Gizmodo found the original source for the HelloGiggles article to be a post on a site called JTHX News. This report made reference to an interview with Niantic personnel that was attributed to IGN — but the link is broken, and there's no such interview on the IGN website.
Looking at the other stories posted on the site, the situation quickly became crystal clear. JTHX News is one of the many fake news sites that post articles designed to be shared via social media, whether or not there is any factual basis to the news being reported.
Another example of the publication's output piggybacks on the recent rebirth of educational cartoon Arthur as an internet meme. The site claims that its creator is planning to use this success to launch an adult-oriented reboot — which is just as false as the assertion that Niantic is working on Harry Potter GO.
Indeed, it would perhaps be unwise for the studio to take on a demanding project such as this given the current state of Pokemon GO. Niantic recently removed the footstep tracking feature from the game, and many players are being very vocal about their disappointment.
Of course, just because Niantic isn't developing Harry Potter GO doesn't mean that there isn't an AR-based Harry Potter game in the works. The success of Pokemon GO demonstrates that properties that were popular among children in the late 1990s can have a great appeal to app store audiences.
With the theatrical release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them fast approaching, it wouldn't be surprising to see an app where players can cast spells using AR hit storefronts. Imitation is a staple strategy of the mobile gaming industry — and the popularity of Pokemon GO speaks for itself.
Pokemon Go is available now on iOS and Android.
Check out our helpful Pokemon GO guides:
- Every Way to Earn Experience Points
- How to Win Battles
- How to Become a Gym Leader
- How to Get Pokecoins
- How to Catch Pikachu as a Starter
- How to Use and Hatch Eggs
- How to Catch Rare Pokemon
- How to Use Pokestops
- How to Control Eevee’s Evolution
- Trainer Rewards at Every Level
- How to Hold Gyms Longer
- Where to Find Specific Pokemon
- How to Trigger Pokemon Spawns
- Every Type’s Strengths and Weaknesses
- Catching Region Exclusive Pokemon