Niantic said yesterday that, owing to the present economic situation, they will “[cancel] four projects and would lose between 85 to 90 positions,” accounting for about 8% of their workforce. For that Reason Niantic Cuts 8% of Staff & Cancels 4 Projects.
Niantic Chief Executive Officer John Hanke stated in an email to colleagues that was viewed by Bloomberg that the firm was “facing a moment of economic uncertainty” and had already started “cutting expenses in a number of areas.” He said, “further simplify our processes in order to best position the organization to withstand any economic storms that may lie ahead.”
Niantic, the gaming business that has failed to discover another major success after its 2016 game Pokémon Go, has shelved four projects and will lay off 85 to 90 people.
In an email to employees obtained by Bloomberg, Niantic CEO John Hanke said that the firm was “facing a moment of economic turbulence” and had already begun “cutting expenses in a number of areas.” Niantic, on the other hand, has to “further simplify our processes in order to best prepare the firm to weather any economic storms that may lie ahead,” according to Hanke.
Heavy Metal, a Transformers game unveiled by Niantic last year, and Hamlet, a collaboration between Niantic and Punchdrunk, the theatrical group behind the acclaimed interactive play Sleep No More, are among the abandoned projects. Blue Sky and Snowball were the names of the other two projects.
Niantic, located in San Francisco, is best known for creating augmented-reality games that merge computer interfaces with actual pictures collected by users’ cameras. According to Sensor Tower estimates, the business published Pokémon Go in 2016, which became a cultural phenomenon, with over one billion downloads and revenue of more than US$1 billion each year.
However, Niantic has been unable to recreate its success. It released Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in 2019, but it failed to attract an audience and was shut down earlier this year. Catan-themed games like the Nintendo franchise Pikmin were also unsuccessful.
Among the abandoned projects are ‘Heavy Metal,’ a Transformers game unveiled last year in conjunction with Hasbro, and numerous undisclosed projects such as ‘Hamlet,’ a collaboration between Niantic and Punchdrunk, the British theatrical group behind the interactive drama Sleep No More. The other two projects were dubbed Blue Sky and Snowball, and we don’t know anything further about them right now.
In recent years, we’ve seen Wizards Unite go down, Pikmin Bloom not be as successful as Niantic had planned, Catan World Explorers shut down after a year, and countless more projects go relatively unnoticed since their original launches (Pokémon Sleep anyone?). Niantic has struggled to develop an idea that is as appealing to gamers as Ingress or Pokémon GO. Pokémon is perhaps a completely unique experience, since the ability to play in real life from your phone fits so well with the notion of Pokémon that recreating it will be almost hard. Niantic’s newest augmented reality game, Peridot, will continue; it is now in beta, and you may register your name in advance of the official release.
Niantic announced a partnership with the NBA for a game called NBA All-World, in which “players can locate, challenge, and compete against today’s NBA ballers in their areas.” It will be fascinating to watch how successful this game is; although basketball is a massive sport in the United States, it is not as popular in many other regions of the globe.
“We recently decided to halt development on several projects and cut our headcount by around 8% in order to concentrate on our primary goals,” stated a Niantic spokeswoman. “We appreciate the efforts of people departing Niantic and are assisting them in this tough transition.”
While Pokémon GO seems to be thriving, it appears like Niantic has yet to uncover the magical combo. Peridot will be intriguing to watch since it is their first game created from scratch rather than in partnership with an existing series, game, or firm. Pokémon GO now earns over $6 billion in revenue, but Niantic reports that the first quarter of 2022 earned 45 percent less than the first quarter of 2021. With GO Fest in the second quarter, it will be an interesting contrast to 2021, as many players have reported buying less or going free to play in protest of the modifications made to the game this year.
Our sympathies are with those who have been impacted by the job losses, and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
Surprisingly, considering the popularity of Pokémon Go, Niantic has failed to replicate that success with its other endeavors. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was shut down earlier this year after just three years on the market, in 2019.
“We recently chose to suspend development on several projects and downsize our team by around 8% to concentrate on our primary goals,” a Niantic representative stated, adding, “We are appreciative for the efforts of individuals departing Niantic and we are helping them through this tough transition.”
In other news, an unprecedented quantity of sensitive gaming data was released online in 2020, and Nintendo has finally replied by announcing that it has tightened security procedures in response to the “gigaleak.”
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