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Would-be witches and wizards gathered at Universal Studios in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening to celebrate the release of Niantic Inc. and Warner Bros. Games free AR mobile game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, set to launch June 21 on Android and iOS devices.
Guest host Tiffany Haddish kicked off the event, held within the theme park under the shadow of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction. “I’m really excited,” the Girls Trip and Night School star told the crowd of 50 or so invited guests. “Why? Because I’m a big Harry Potter fan. Anyone who knows me knows that I have wands and stuff at home. I believe in magic.”
Haddish went on to praise author J.K. Rowling for getting her into reading when she was younger before introducing Niantic CEO John Hanke (“I thought he was Tom Hanks at first,” quipped Haddish).
“We want people to get out and explore their own neighborhood,” Hanke said of Wizards Unite. The new game is similar to the company’s last hit, Pokemon Go, which utilized AR tech to get gamers moving around the real world to capture the little monsters and engage in daily challenges.
“The majority of adults and kids don’t get enough daily exercise. Our goal is to inspire people to go out and have fun with friends and family in real life,” Hanke said.
Guests at Tuesday’s event (which also included Friday Night Lights star Scott Porter) were welcomed to go out and have fun exploring the new, interactive wizarding world at Universal. Downloading the game shortly after Hanke’s remarks, guests perused the park battling evil wizards, crafting potions and collecting fantastic beasts against the backdrop of real-world versions of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.
Sipping on butter beer and noshing on sticky toffee pudding, attendees were among the first to get their hands on the hotly-anticipated game, first announced in November 2017.
Muggles and wizards alike will be able to try their hand at the new experience on Friday when Harry Potter: Wizards Unite officially launches.
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