Pokémon GO creator Niantic has acquired a small SF gaming startup building a league and tournament organization platform to help gamers create their own communities around popular titles.
Mayhem was in Y Combinator’s winter 2018 batch and went on to raise $5.7 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. Other backers include Accel, which led the startup’s Series A in 2018, Afore Capital and NextGen Venture Partners.
The startup’s focus has shifted quite a bit since its initial YC debut, when it announced a service called Visor that would analyze video of esports gameplay and coach users on how they could improve their performance. The company has seemed to shift its focus wholly to community tools to help gamers find matches and organize tournaments for games like Overwatch on its platform.
Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed by Niantic.
The “majority” of Mayhem’s team will be joining Niantic with the startup’s CEO Ivan Zhou landing in the company’s Social Platform Product team while the rest of the team joins Platform Engineering.
In a statement, Niantic asserts that the acquisition “reinforces our commitment to real-world social as the centerpiece of our mission.”
Most of Niantic’s acquisitions of late have focused on augmented reality backend technologies, so it’s interesting to see them buying tech that focuses on community organization.
Pokémon GO continues to be Niantic’s cash cow, though the company hasn’t seen the same levels of viral success with subsequent releases where organic growth hasn’t been quite as easy to come by. Buying a startup building community tools suggests the company is ready to bring in some outside tech to push their own efforts forward as they strive to create a broader platform for their AR ambitions and more standalone hits of their own.