Pokemon GO developer Niantic has reportedly been hit with massive layoffs in addition to cancelling its upcoming Marvel game, Marvel: World of Heroes. New reports reveal that Niantic will be closing down its Los Angeles studio and laying off over 230 employees from the company.
As reported by Kotaku, an internal email sent to Niantic employees by founder John Hanke stated that the company saw a drastic increase in revenue over the years but ever since the pandemic, it had started to decline. Hanke added that due to a crowded AR market and a lack of long-term engagement for its other projects in the works, the studio was simply not meeting its internal goals.
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As a result, the company decided to lay off 230 employees and officially shut down its NBA All-World game as well as scrap the development of its upcoming superhero title, Marvel: World of Heroes. Hanke’s email reportedly read:
“Today’s highly competitive mobile gaming market requires dazzling quality and innovation. It also requires strong monetisation and a social core which can drive viral growth and long term engagement. Teams need platform tools that are force multipliers, enabling them to build at the highest quality with powerful engagement features quickly and efficiently. Our AR map and platform must deliver the features that developers want in a robust and reliable way. We have not met our goals in all of these areas.”
Hanke finally revealed that Pokemon GO will remain a top priority for the studio and endure, calling it “a forever game.” Pokemon GO has since been downloaded over a billion times as of 2019, though the company has struggled to replicate its success with other cancelled AR games that featured similar concepts such as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Niantic will continue to work on other upcoming projects such as Monster Hunter Now, Pikmin Bloom and Peridot but the founder says the studio has a lot of work to do in order to keep player retention as well as maintain revenue and profatibility on all of those titles.