Pokemon Go

Niantic, the creator of the widely successful Pokemon Go game, has made the difficult decision to lay off 230 employees as the gaming industry experiences a period of slowdown. Alongside the layoffs, the company has also revealed significant organizational changes, including the cancellation of its NBA and Marvel games. In a statement, CEO John Hanke acknowledged the disparity between expenses and revenue, stating, “We have allowed our expenses to grow faster than our revenue.”

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Niantic witnessed a surge in revenue and an increase in headcount. However, as the situation has improved, the company’s revenue has returned to pre-pandemic levels. As part of its streamlining efforts, Niantic will be closing down its Los Angeles studio. Furthermore, the NBA All-World game, which was launched in January, will be retired, and production of the Marvel World of Heroes title will be halted.

Reports suggest that Niantic will now prioritize the development and maintenance of its augmented reality cash cow, Pokemon Go. Since its launch in 2016, Pokemon Go has captivated a global audience, with players flocking to public spaces in search of virtual characters like Pikachu. The game’s popularity has translated into significant financial success, generating over $1 billion in in-app purchases annually since 2020, as reported by TechCrunch.

While focusing on Pokemon Go, Niantic remains committed to other game projects such as Pikmin Bloom, Peridot, and Monster Hunter Now. In an internal note to employees, Hanke also expressed the company’s intention to explore mixed-reality devices like Meta Quest Pro and Apple Vision Pro, as well as AR glasses.

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Last year, Niantic had already announced the termination of four projects and an approximate 8% reduction in staff. These recent layoffs reflect a broader trend of significant job cuts within the tech industry, including computer-based gaming developers. Microsoft, for example, announced a reduction of 10,000 jobs in January, impacting its gaming division and developers working on popular titles like Halo and Starfield.

As Niantic adapts to the changing dynamics of the gaming landscape, the company aims to refocus its resources and efforts on the continued success of Pokemon Go and explore new opportunities in augmented reality. While these changes involve difficult decisions and adjustments, Niantic remains committed to providing engaging gaming experiences for its dedicated player base.

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