A Huge Interview with Child Adams, Director of Artwork and Manufacturing at Niantic

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We had an opportunity to speak with Kim Adams, Niantic's Director of Artwork and Manufacturing, at this 12 months's GO Fest 2023 London occasion. The interview occurred on the primary day of GO Fest, and we got a half-hour sit down with Kim and Tom Glover, Senior Director of Communications EMEA.

As one would anticipate, we requested Kim quite a bit, masking a whole lot of floor, so put together your self for a prolonged learn. We are going to allow you to decide the interview by yourself, however we should say we had been fairly impressed with the corporate's plans for this 12 months, and we had been particularly impressed with how variety and right down to earth Adams was.

We left the interview slot feeling refreshed, and cautiously optimistic in regards to the subsequent 6-12 months of Pokémon GO's content material roadmap, however alas, right here's what we talked with Kim and Tom.


  • There's a slate of blockbuster options for the remainder of this 12 months and subsequent 12 months
  • There's nonetheless one thing massive coming this 12 months, and the product group may be very enthusiastic about it. 
  • Niantic has an amazing relationship with The Pokémon Firm and their companions in Tokyo. 
  • The theme of this 12 months was native communities and native engagement.
  • Niantic may be very pleased with the elevated participation in native actions

Interview with Kim Adams

Hello Kim! May you introduce your self for our readers?

I'm Kim Adams, director of Artwork and Manufacturing at Niantic. I work with and I oversee each artwork and manufacturing, so all of the visible artists, look of the sport, and all of the thrilling issues that should do with the characters and the model.

After which, there's manufacturing on the opposite aspect. The producers actually are the product homeowners, and it consists of speaking to everybody from design to manufacturing managers.

Within the very starting, as we're arising with the ideas and what precisely are the objectives for the longer term, we begin off after which the producers take that and take it from idea all the way in which to launch. The producers are connective glue which might be protecting all of the departments in test, speaking to all people to ensure we're on observe, and type of heading up every little thing.

These two departments sort of stretch out they usually contact every little thing from, you realize, design, manufacturing, artwork, UX and UI, our advertising and marketing companions. My function truly stretches out throughout all of these items actually, and my mission is to ensure we're staying centered and to ensure no one is blocked.

You'll be able to speak about nice concepts for nice options all day lengthy, however ultimately it's about what you possibly can execute, and truly launch, and truly get on the market so that folks can play with it.

Completely agree. So what are the options have you ever been engaged on not too long ago? Is it simply routes or one thing extra?

Properly, we had this enormous push, proper? So inside like a ten week interval, we launched Shadow Raids, after which we adopted that up with PokéStop showcases, after which we had the Pokémon Go Plus Plus launch, after which we had Routes. So we've had this enormous deal with getting options out, into the arms of Trainers, to see what folks love!

How completely satisfied are you with these?

Options? I'm so thrilled! And you'll see there's an actual deal with group this 12 months.

Shadow Raids have actually elevated in-person raiding to an enormous diploma. All people eager to get out and  raid collectively has been nice. Pokémon Showcases are giving folks a option to evaluate and type of showcase with our pals, which is an entire one other factor we're doing.

After which, Routes is an entire new factor that's sort of setting us up with an entire new worth for Trainers to assist one another discover, proper? So it's like Coach to Coach, like, take a look at my neighbourhood, take a look at this. We're actually empowering one another and amplifying the entire exploration a part of our objective and our mission. In order that's been tremendous thrilling.

After which there's Campfire, on the coronary heart of Campfire is group, bringing folks collectively to search out one another to go play collectively. All of these issues have been our, our focus this 12 months: social and group facets of the sport.

And is it working? Are we seeing an uplift in local people activations?

Sure, for certain. That quantity's rising. I don't have the precise quantity.

Are we allowed to speak about KPIs (*) Niantic cares about? Like which metrics and objectives are necessary to the corporate in the mean time?

I believe that primary KPI for us was to get folks taking part in collectively extra, to get folks outdoors once more. The preliminary objective of Raids was to get folks out exploring the world collectively. Shadow Raids positively amplifies that.

And each function has a distinct set of KPIs. A few of them [features] usually are not all the time about income. They're about delight and enjoyable, as a result of that's gonna drive every little thing, proper? When you have a function that folks love, your KPIs are completed.

I don't like having conferences with artists the place we're speaking about KPIs. They shouldn't even be fascinated about KPIs, proper? They need to simply be fascinated about creating issues that they'd like to do.

Loads of this comes from our staff truly. All of our staff are gamers, and they also're one of the passionate folks. We're additionally our personal worst critics as a result of we're all the time taking part in after we're not working. So more often than not we're both working, or taking part in, and persons are always saying, “Hey, take a look at this”, or “That's not working”, or “How can we make this higher?”.

It's tremendous collaborative and pushed by our personal participant base, in addition to all of the person analysis that we're doing, and the panels, and the main focus teams we organise.

(*) KPI stands for key efficiency indicator, a quantifiable measure of efficiency over time for a particular goal. KPIs present targets for groups to shoot for, milestones to gauge progress, and insights that assist folks throughout the group make higher selections.

Do you actually totally on UX and Focus teams to make selections?

We use a mixture of knowledge factors, the UX analysis, focus teams, and analytics to decide. It's all slices of a pie, proper? We're all the time attempting to strike a steadiness between how we are able to make the present options higher, and which new issues we need to introduce to the platform.

We work in an agile manner, we do a whole lot of testing and prototyping, simply to guarantee that the mechanics we're pondering of are gonna be fund ultimately. And we're always attempting to study extra from our gamers. Some concepts that now we have are actually nice in idea after which in execution, possibly not a lot. 

So speaking about product suggestions, is there like an open channel the place the product group will get participant suggestions, or is it filtered by means of some layers of the corporate? 

We now have a ton of suggestions channels that we hearken to, and other people all the time assume we're not listening. That isn't appropriate. We simply have so many facets we're attempting to cowl from hardcore gamers, to onboarding new gamers, to gamers who're making the transition from much less to extra devoted gamers.

Social media is one place the place folks give suggestions, however there are additionally in particular person occasions, native meetups, the questionnaires we ship out. We're wanting on the entire image.

Which new function is your favorite?

<snicker> I don't know if I've a favorite, however I'll say I've a delicate spot for Routes as a result of it's providing this new manner for gamers to tell one another. It's additionally tremendous lengthy awaited, and it's very thrilling as our, as our first UGC function. It's very thrilling.

Creating a Route in Pokémon GO

So, there was a whole lot of speak about like 24 or 48 hours of Route assessment time to get them reside. I don't assume that's a factor anymore with all of the layoffs, proper?

I don't assume that's attainable anymore, I imply we commented already on that. It was a really optimistic objective.

General we're simply, we're thrilled on the response to Routes, and the truth that all people needs to create new Routes. We're working tremendous laborious to get as many accredited as attainable rapidly.

Let's change gears for a second. How is it working with The Pokémon Firm?

We now have an amazing relationship with the TPC and our companions in Tokyo, they had been simply right here, we're gonna go there in a few months. We're very aligned with them by way of technique and the place we need to take the sport.

One of many issues I used to be serving to once I've come onboard was to facilitate type of a smoother, faster processes throughout all groups and TPC.

We've labored laborious to enhance every little thing from essentially the most basic items to essentially the most difficult processes, in order that issues like translation, resolution making, artwork approval and every little thing else works easily. The nice factor is that all of us have the identical objectives, and all of us wanna be nice companions.

Is there something you need, or can, share in regards to the imaginative and prescient for the sport? What's the imaginative and prescient for subsequent 12 months?

We now have this type of slate of blockbuster options for the remainder of this 12 months and subsequent 12 months. There's one thing thrilling nonetheless to return for this 12 months that I believe persons are actually gonna love. It's fairly massive.

After which we're designing some actually thrilling issues already for subsequent 12 months. We now have our roadmap deliberate out already. So, yeah, I'm so enthusiastic about it and I want I may share it <laughs>, however you'll have to be shocked.

Are there any plans to enhance Raids, the core mechanics there?

I wouldn't be capable to touch upon that. <snicker>

I'd say that we're having a look at what are we gonna make higher that already exists, and what are we gonna introduce that's new. We're all the time weighing these two issues collectively.

Have been you impacted by the layoffs, the groups you handle?

Sure… the entire firm was affected, sadly. I believe our official messaging there was fairly sincere, so I'd counsel studying the official put up for that.

Thanks in your time Kim!

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