The company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic lays off 8% of staff and cancels 4 projects:- Pokémon Go developer Niantic is running into trouble as it builds a “real-world metaverse.” Like many other tech companies facing turbulent economic times, the company decided to lay off 8% of its employees, affecting approximately 85 to 90 people. Just seven months ago, the company raised $300 million at a valuation of $9 billion, more than double its valuation from 2018.
In an email to employees reported by Bloomberg, CEO John Hanke said the company needed to reduce costs to best prepare for “the economic storm ahead.” Niantic also canceled four upcoming projects: Heavy Metal, a Transformers game that had already entered beta testing; a collaboration with Hamlet, the theater company behind “Sleep No More”; And two other projects called Blue Sky and Snowball.
Recently announced games like NBA All-World and Peridot are not affected. Canceled projects include Heavy Metal, a Transformers game announced by Niantic last year, and Hamlet, a collaboration between Niantic and Punchdrunk, the theatrical company behind the popular interactive play Sleep No More.
The other two projects were called Blue Sky and Snowball. San Francisco-based Niantic, founded in 2010, is best known for creating augmented-reality-style games that blend digital interfaces with real images captured by players’ cameras.
In 2016, the company released Pokémon Go, according to estimates from Sensor Tower, which became a cultural phenomenon with more than a billion downloads and revenue of more than $1 billion per year.
But Niantic has been unable to replicate that success. In 2019 it launched Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which failed to find an audience and was shut down earlier this year. Games based on the board game Catan and the Nintendo series Pikmin were also unsuccessful.
“We have recently decided to stop production on some projects and reduce our workforce by approximately 8% to focus on our core priorities,” a spokesperson said. “We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Niantic and we are supporting them through this difficult transition.”
On Tuesday, Niantic announced that it is partnering with the National Basketball Association for a game called NBA All-World, where “players can find, challenge, and compete with today’s NBA ballers in their neighborhoods.” can.” A Niantic spokesperson said that the company will continue to work on that game, Pokémon Go and many more.
The report says that Niantic is yet to recapture the power-bottle success of 2016’s Pokémon Go. The company discontinued the AR game based on Harry Potter earlier this year. News of layoffs and project cancellations comes a day after Niantic announced NBA All-World, a basketball game it is creating in collaboration with the NBA and the league’s players’ union.
Meanwhile, the company will soon release an app that will help Pokémon Go players to chat with each other. It’s also working on an original game called Peridot and collaborating with other companies on AR apps.