Niantic's Virtual AR Pet Game Peridot Arrives May 9

You'll be able to take care of your own little virtual companion, from the maker of Pokemon Go.

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
a woman kneels in a park, playing with a cartoon creature, with the word Peridot in purple

Pokemon Go game developer Niantic has flexed into a bunch of unusual social gaming experiments on phones: some with walking and Pikmin, some with sleep. A new AR game called Peridot, which casts a virtual pet companion into the real world using your phone, arrives May 9 promising some sort of social connectivity through virtual pet ownership.

Peridot was originally announced last year, and is one of Niantic's most original AR game efforts. I haven't played it yet, but the persistent virtual pet experience looks far more casual than some of Niantic's other more game-like apps. As Niantic continues to explore augmented reality social applications and future AR glasses, it could also be an app that more deeply explores social connection in AR.

Peridot involves raising a "genetically unique" Dot (the name for these magical, colorful pets) that can grow and learn and interact with the world and other people, and eventually you can even create new Dots... it seems? The pets will enter phases of being a teenager and an adult. Do the Dots die? (I don't know.)

It all seems whimsical and fascinating, and at least promises to be the most interesting virtual pet game since Tamagotchi. Peridot will be available on both Android and iOS, much like other Niantic games. Hopefully we'll get to check it out soon.