KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung is planning to throw $40m (£31m) at Pokémon Go creator Niantic in a deal that will see the two firms collaborate on "exclusive" games.
A source familiar with Samsung's plans told the INQUIRER that the deal, which could be announced within the next few weeks, will also see Niantic's games arrive pre-loaded on Galaxy smartphones, echoing Samsung's recent partnership with Epic Games which saw Fortnite pre-installed on the Galaxy Note 9.
The firms' main focus, however, will be an exclusive Harry Potter game, according to the source, which will utilise Samsung's S-Pen stylus as a makeshift magic wand. However, it's currently unclear whether this will arrive as a reworked version of Niantic's incoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite title, which is set to be released in 2019, or as an all-new game designed for Galaxy handsets.
Our source tells us that the deal will also include Niantic's location-based Ingress title, although notes the firm's money-making Pokémon Go franchise won't be included as part of the deal.
"Niantic is hesitant to co-work on Pokémon Go, since they are super protective of that franchise," they said.
While further details on the deal remain thin, it comes at a time when Niantic and Samsung are said to "desperate for each other". Niantic needs to raise money to support an IPO, while Samsung is "looking to differentiate itself from its smartphone competitors".
"After a lot of haggling, and pushing, Niantic refused to make the features without a large investment from Samsung, and the number they arrived at was $40m", the source tells us.
The investment could be announced before the year is up, although our source tells us that both companies likely want to wait until the "technical collaboration makes more progress."
We wouldn't be surprised to see an announcement alongside Samsung's Galaxy S10 reveal, which looks set to take place at next year's Mobile World Congress.
Samsung refused to cough, telling us it "can't comment on rumour or speculation". Niantic didn't respond to our request for comment. µ
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