Niantic, the developer of the global hit Pokémon Go, has recently decided to lay off 8% of its staff and cancel projects that were in the works. As it sought to recapture the magic and addictive nature of Pokémon Go, it now seems to be shifting its focus and energy toward building a ‘real-life metaverse’ using over $300 million it recently raised.
Previously, the company canned the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game that failed to catch on with gamers and continues to attempt to re-inject its first title, Ingress, with new life. However, to date, it’s not been successful, and in wake of the aforementioned new golden goose, Bloomberg reports that Niantic’s CEO John Hanke put out a companywide email letting 80-90 staff members go this week.
These individuals were working on Transformers: Heavy Metal and Hamlet, a Punchdrunk collaboration (responsible for the interactive play “Sleep No More”), as well as two other titles – one codenamed Snowball and the other Blue Sky. I hope that they go on to find jobs to support their families during this transition.
All is not bad though, and interestingly, the recently announced Peridot should still be coming to market beyond its soft launch. Additionally, Pikmin Bloom is still operable, despite the fact that I think it’s the most boring game on the company’s roster. It’s also their lowest-earning title, bringing in only $5 million at launch and only $2 million in Q1 of this year.
Do you still play Pokémon Go? How do you feel about Niantic attempting to rescind many of the changes it made during the pandemic to get people out of the house and moving again? Have you ever played Ingress, Pikmin Bloom, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite? I’m oddly looking forward to Peridot, but let me know in the comments below if it’s too direct a rip of Pokémon Go’s formula.