UC Berkeley alum is the force behind Pokémon Go
Did you know that Pokémon Go has a UC connection?
John Hanke, UC Berkeley MBA ’96 and CEO of Niantic Labs, is the driving force behind the hottest craze to hit smartphones—ever. Since its release just a few weeks ago, the “augmented reality” game Pokémon Go has sent millions of phone-toting players to the streets on the hunt for animated Japanese characters that pop up with the help of location services. The crush of downloads nearly crashed Niantic’s servers, and within a week of release, the number of active users was nearly on par with Twitter.
It’s one of those moments, The New York Times declared, “when a new technology—in this case, augmented reality or A.R., which fuses digital technology with the physical world—breaks through from a niche toy for early adopters to something much bigger.”
Yet it’s not the first time Hanke has propelled a breakthrough technology into the mainstream. As an MBA student at Haas in the mid-1990s, he co-founded a company that developed one of the first online games to allow hundreds of people to play together in a virtual environment.