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(Pocket-lint) - Niantic has partnered with Sony to develop new technologies - namely, earbuds - that will allow you to enjoy sound in an augmented world.

Niantic, which owns game titles such as Ingress, Pokemon Go, and Pikmin Bloom, tends to focus on augmented reality (AR) applications for mobile devices. But, currently, AR is a very visual format. So, in order to make its AR games more immersive for players, Niantic is teaming up with Sony to develop and promote an extra sensory experience called auditory AR.

Sony will add its spatial sound technology to Niantic's titles, starting with the game Ingress in 2022. It will work with Sony's latest pair of wireless earbuds called LinkBuds. These will apparently allow you to hear both the real and the virtual world for a "never off" wearing experience. Basically, Niantic said it noticed people play their games with the sound off because they don't want to be cut off from the real world. Now, with LinkBuds, those same people can play Ingress and feel fully in the game while still being aware of their surroundings.

LinkBuds feature an "open ring driver" that links your in-game sound to what’s happening in the real world. You will be able to hear conversations with high-quality sound, thanks in part to an integrated V1 processor and something called "Adaptive Volume Control", which optimises sound to your environment. There is also a "Precise Voice Pickup" technology for clear phone calls. 

They are available now for £150 in the UK and $180 in the US.

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More details about the spatial sound technology/auditory AR update to Ingress will be announced later in the year. For more about Niantic and Sony's partnership, watch the announcement above. 

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Writing by Maggie Tillman.
  • Source: Niantic and Sony Collaborate in Audio AR, Starting with Ingress - nianticlabs.com
  • Source: Collaboration in the auditory AR field for headphones with Niantic, developer and provider of AR mobile games - sony.com