The long-awaited augmented reality game based on the Harry Potter franchise from Pokémon GO masterminds Niantic is closer to release, as the developer has begun public beta testing of the app.
On Tuesday, the beta version of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, built in partnership with Niantic, Warner Bros., and Portkey Games, launched published to Google Play and the App Store in Australia. The land down under joins New Zealand (who gained access to the beta on April 16), as the lucky guinea pigs for the location-based game.
Based on previously released previews, the game follows the formula pioneered by Niantic with Ingress and Pokémon GO as a scavenger hunt combined with a turn-based RPG taking place in real world locations. Ironically, there are some twists and customizations that draw influence from subsequent location-based games that copied the Niantic model, namely the augmented reality offerings from franchises Ghostbusters, Walking Dead, and Jurassic Park.
Interested owners of Android devices can pre-register for the game via Google Play, while iPhone and iPad users can sign up at the game's official website for updates. And those who are really excited to get into the game can reserve their code names ahead of the wider launch.
The game has had a long gestation period, with the original announcement dropping in November 2017.
Since then, Niantic has introduced its AR cloud solution, Niantic Real World Platform, which is the basis for the reboot of Ingress, as well as enhancements to Pokémon GO. Niantic has hinted that the platform will serve as the foundation for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite as well. Therefore, between the new platform and collaborating with several other entities, there are some reasonable excuses for the long delay.
Now that the game is out as a beta, it won't be long for the rest of the world gets its hands on some mobile AR magic.