Niantic’s Black Lives Matter statement


We are witnessing an unprecedented movement that opposes the systemic racism that limits opportunity and oppresses billions of people around the world. Like many of you, I have struggled with finding the right words, emotions, and actions to deal with the unease and unrest we’re seeing as a result of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and countless other Black people. As I said on Friday, the occasion demands that we rise up as an organization and marshall the power and resources that we have to be part of the solution. As a society, we can do better than we have in the past. As the past few days have made clear, we must do better.

The leadership team and I are aligned to do what we can to make the company a force for good in the world. At the same time, we want Niantic to be a source of stability and support in these troubled times. We face this heightened challenge on top of the physical and mental strain of our battle against COVID-19. We know that for many of you this has made an already stressful situation significantly worse. We want you to know that Niantic is here for you. So please reach out—to a colleague, HR manager, the leadership team—if you need support. If you’re in a position where you feel like you can’t stay in your place of residence, talk to your HRBP so we can help. The work in front of us to overcome these challenges is vast. The road is long. We want to help you take care of yourself so that you can be a force for good in the world.

So what can Niantic do? How can we use our platform to effect sustainable, long-term change? We already strive to make the world better by encouraging our players to explore the world around them and connect with their local community through physical interaction, to build a strong body and mind through exercise, and to build positive connections with fellow human beings through real-world social interaction. We think the next area where we can make a powerful, scalable impact is through the culture, ideas, and role models we help to create. To achieve that, we are going to fund projects from Black creators and will bring the best of those creations to a mass audience where they can shine a light on characters, story, and points of view that validate the lives and experiences of the Black community.

We’ll be donating Niantic proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest 2020 ticket sales, committing a minimum of $5 million. Half of the proceeds donated will be used to fund new projects from Black gaming and AR creators that can live on the Niantic platform, with the ultimate goal of increasing content that represents a more diverse view on the world. The other half will go to US nonprofit organizations that are helping local communities rebuild.

We’ll be donating $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and doing an employee match of up to $50,000. Black trans people continue to be killed at higher rates than Black cis people and non-Black LGBTQ+ people. In honor of the Black Lives Matter movement and of Pride Month, the Diversity and Inclusion team and the executive leadership team believe this donation is the right thing to do to support those who are most vulnerable to police brutality and other systems of oppression.

We’re also asking ourselves how we can take responsibility to better support our current and future Black and underrepresented minority employees as well as galvanize our non-Black employees to do their part in combating systemic racism and social injustice in both our industry and the community at large.

We’re developing new Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training with a specific focus on allyship training. I cannot stress this point enough: it is not the responsibility of the Black community or our Black employees now to carry the burden of education. It is up to non-Black allies to educate ourselves and each other. We hope this diversity and inclusion training can help provide the tools and resources to make us all better allies. More details to come.

We’re upping our commitment to Treehouse, an organization dedicated to diversifying tech by making education more accessible. We are now committed to bringing on five UX/Designers and five QA analysts for apprenticeships, and hire 80-100% after apprenticeships.

We’re expanding our partnership with Gameheads a nonprofit that teaches kids how to develop games from beginning to end. This year, they are going fully virtual and taking the program global. We’ll be providing $25,000 in scholarships, sponsoring their annual showcase with $15,000, and donating $20,000 to create a new “Developing for AR 101” program where students can earn college accreditation in partnership with Cal State.

We know many Niantics are eager to get involved in rebuilding their community. Today we give employees four days per year to attend Niantic game events. We’re turning this benefit into Flex Days and adding a day, so you’ll have five Flex Days a year to attend a Niantic event or volunteer.

We will actively work to ensure accountability to all these commitments. We are formalizing our D&I council, and will use this group along with dedicated involvement from senior leadership to ensure accountability.

Lastly, we will take a public stance in support of the Black community and reject white supremacy, racism, and police brutality.

We also know that many of our employees are eager to be involved in helping, but aren’t sure where to start. With the help of the newly formed Diversity and Inclusion council, I’d like to share some resources that you can use as a starting point.

Educate yourself on the Black Lives Matter movement. We must educate ourselves and each other in order to support the movement as best we can.

Apply to be a Gameheads mentor. We need Niantics to volunteer and mentor the next generation of technology leaders.

Volunteer and join your fellow Niantics in organizing and contributing to the movement internally by filling out our form. The Diversity and Inclusion council will share opportunities for how you can get involved.

We are committed to this cause. These initiatives don’t end with an announcement. The work to follow through will require years of effort to yield the impact we seek. Along the way, we’ll be looking for even more opportunities to deepen these initiatives.

The heart of Niantic is our community of players. It is imperative that we stand up to support our Black Trainers, Agents, and Wizards. We aim to be a force of change committed to the long road ahead of rebuilding a more just and fair system where historical racial divides are overcome and where all are welcomed, valued, and have a fair chance at success. The first step is overcoming the racism and injustice that prevents members of our community from safely enjoying the freedom and pleasure of a simple walk or run outdoors. Black Lives Matter.

-John Hanke

They’re donating lots of money, they’re supporting black trans people (this in particular made me almost want to cry in relief), they’re working from the inside out, they’re focusing on mental health…

I threw my heart into Pokemon as an 11-year-old, I looked up to it as a mentor and a teacher, and it fufilled its responsibilites better than some of the adults in my life did.

Happy Detective Pikachu Day

Roughly one year ago I was sitting in a theater watching a little bit of my childhood come to life. Now… no theaters are open. I have the quarantine blues, and nothing is helping.

Dancing Pikachu comes close, though.

My favourite little details/easter eggs in Detective Pikachu

As a Pokemon fan since 1998, this is my kinda movie. I screencapped it a couplea months ago and finally remembered to stick all the freeze-frame details I discovered into a post.

“Suddenly my Pokemon was a stranger” is just the sort of headline you would expect in this world, I love it. (Also, the newspaper is named after Clifford, which should’ve been a hint he was a villain.)

Howard Clifford pops up on the TV in a way similar to the old “Who’s That Pokemon” segments from the show! See?

I love all the detail in this shot. Puff Palace! What’s that? A Jigglypuff-themed restaurant?

I love the Delivery Braviary, I love him so much. I like to think he works for a company called Deliviary.

This… this is the Gherkin.

(Also, I assume the “Throjo” on the left is named after Throh)

And there’s a red bus! Wait… is Ryme City London? How did I not twig that immediately?!

Ah! Puff Palace is a restaurant! And don’t forget Wynaut’s Donuts.

More Pokemon-related brands! Mediti (after Meditite) and a Combee logo.

I’m gonna go ahead and assume that “Mist” banner on the right is just something generic and not a reference to Misty, but you never know I guess.

The only Mew we see in the movie.



Man I love that Cat-Shaped Reminder of Mankind’s Hubris so dang much. This is a good analysis of what makes him so freakin’ cool.


#150 – Mewtwo

Mewtwo, originally presented as the last Pokémon in the Pokédex (for both months before people knew better), and probably the most loaded Pokémon to talk about barring Pikachu. Since 1996, it’s been both the de-facto Legendary Pokémon and the de-facto villain of the series.

And d’you know what? Mewtwo’s does a pretty solid job at it.

We’ve had obviouslyartifical monsters up until this point, but those seem more synthetic and purpose-built to thrive in specific environments. Mewtwo, on the other hand, feels like it’s in a halfway state, obviously organic, but absolutely not anything that would occur in nature. The gangly limbs with odd, webbed extremities belong to something amphibious or even alien, whereas the shape of its head (and its name) tie it to a hairless cat, but as a whole it stands upright on two legs with the full presence of…

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Heading into the week with Pokémon nail art — Pokémon Blog

The Pokémon Company International has worked with a top nail artist to create a very special manicure design in celebration of Eevee’s first starring role in the Nintendo Switch exclusive game, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! Fans of Eevee can now not only choose one as their partner in the latest game, but can now transform […]

Heading into the week with Pokémon nail art — Pokémon Blog

Ooooh shiny. Well I have time on my hands maybe I’ll try this!