SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook’s former head of comms for Oculus, Tera Randall, has joined Niantic as VP of global communications.
She is reporting to Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke.
The last person to hold the VP of comms role at Niantic was Gabriel Stricker, according to a source familiar with the matter. Stricker now works at Google.
Randall is building and defining Niantic’s communications function as the company enters its next phase, overseeing external, corporate and internal communications, including media relations globally, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Randall tweeted on Tuesday night that she is excited to join the company, which is best known for developing the AR mobile games Ingress, Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
"The team that built the world's most successful AR games is on a mission to create a planet-scale AR platform so people and creators can realize the full potential of AR," tweeted Randall. "Let the adventure begin."
I’m excited to join @nianticlabs and @johnhanke as the VP of Global Communications. The team that built the world's most successful AR games is on a mission to create a planet-scale AR platform so people and creators can realize the full potential of AR. Let the adventure begin! pic.twitter.com/5RK1VopyvE— Tera (@TeraRandall) January 14, 2020
Since January 2015, Randall had been global head of comms for VR company Oculus, which Facebook acquired for $2 billion in 2014. Ha Thai is filling the role Randall had at Facebook, leading AR/VR and hardware communications, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Last May, Facebook released two headsets: the untethered Oculus Quest and the computer-powered Oculus Rift S. It is also planning to buy game studios and secure exclusive deals to beef up Oculus’ game library, according to CNBC. Oculus has been bundling a Star Wars title called Vader Immortal with the Quest, and a new VR-only sequel to Valve’s Half Life game series is due for release in March.
Before leading comms at Oculus, Randall led global communications for Facebook's AR, VR and consumer hardware businesses and products. Earlier in her career, she was a PR manager at Amazon.
Niantic’s Pikachu-catching phenomenon, Pokémon Go, burst into the cultural consciousness in 2016, sending users into public places to search for the game’s characters. At the time, it was the most profitable game in both the Google and Apple app stores and sent Nintendo’s share price soaring. The game continues to be popular and just wrapped up its most profitable year to date. In 2019, it earned an estimated $900 million through in-app purchases, according to mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower.