Niantic Hires PR Leader Who Shepherded Oculus Transition At Facebook

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Tera Randall is taking an executive role as Vice President of Global Communications at Pokemon Go company Niantic after leaving her position shaping the story of Facebook’s ambitions in VR and AR.

Randall was a key public relations leader at Facebook who joined the company in 2013 working on platform and gaming communications. When Facebook acquired the Oculus VR startup in 2014 for around $3 billion, she become a key point of contact for media outlets as the organization transitioned from being an independent startup co-founded by people like Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey to a growing division within Facebook sharpened to Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition of building out a fundamentally new platform for human communication.

Randall is on the executive team at Niantic now and will report to Niantic CEO John Hanke.

Niantic is of course the company behind Pokemon Go, the popular phone game which overlays a fictional map on top of the real world with Pokestops and other simulated attractions to draw people to different places and catch digital creatures. The game tracks location and features a burgeoning augmented reality mode accessed through your phone’s camera. Niantic also makes Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and their earlier game Ingress, but neither title seemed to catch on at the same scale as Pokemon Go.

It probably isn’t exaggeration to say that the dream app for millions of people in slim-fit augmented reality glasses would be to find and catch Pokemon hiding in real-life locations, like behind bushes or in trees. But current timelines suggest significant advancements need to be made in miniaturization and the reduction of power consumption to improve the AR feature currently seen on phones to the level needed where people could put on a pair of glasses, walk out their front door, believably find Pokemon hiding in their environment, and return at dusk with a pocket full of new digital friends.

It appears Randall will become a core part of shaping the story of that transition for Niantic.

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