Pokemon Go Maker Niantic Has Its First Mixed-Reality Pet for the Quest

A year after the AR pet game Peridot arrived on phones, Niantic is stepping into headsets with a little mixed-reality experience on the Quest. I want virtual pets now.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Hands reaching out to a virtual glowing blue-green pet in a living room

Peridot is a little free virtual pet for the Quest 3, a starting exploration for AR companions using mixed reality.

Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

A little blue cutie of a puffball is dancing around the floor by my feet. Extending a hand, it jumps and hovers over my fingers. I pet it, but it's not there. It almost feels like I'm scratching its head?

Hello Dot is a free app on Meta's Quest App Lab that's available a year after Niantic, the makers of Pokemon Go, released its phone-based virtual pet app, Peridot. Hello Dot isn't a full game, and it doesn't bring your phone Peridot pet into your Meta Quest 3 headset, but it does show a little taste of how Niantic -- and a bunch of other companies -- are thinking about mixed reality.

It's been half a year since Meta released the mixed-reality capable Quest 3 headset, beating Apple's Vision Pro to market by a few months. Both headsets are capable of conjuring realistic 3D objects and experiences on top of camera feeds of the real world, but not that many apps on the Quest 3 are doing that yet. That could be changing fast now that the Vision Pro is here, and Meta's vision for AR on the Quest is evolving.

Niantic already has had ambitions to enter the future landscape of all-day AR glasses since at least 2019, but those devices don't exist yet. Niantic CEO John Hanke has already pointed to mixed-reality VR headsets as an exploratory stepping stone on the way to future glasses and AR apps. Peridot was an app originally conceived for future AR glasses, then released on phones. Now, Peridot is starting to pop on mixed-reality headsets, starting with the Quest 3. What could come next?

Executive Producer Alicia Berry, who leads the team making Peridot, tells me that this is a first step to see what's possible, with more that could come. Berry acknowledges that there are some things mixed-reality headsets aren't authorized to do yet. Third-party apps on the Quest 3 and Vision Pro can't access camera feeds to truly "see" the world in mixed reality, although semantic scene understanding, where objects are labeled using AI, could help with that. Peridot uses generative AI on mobile, and my mind's already leaping to thinking about how little virtual pets like these could maybe live alongside you while doing work -- as companions, or assistants. It's just a simple thing to play with for now, but what comes next?