Why Niantic is cancelling upcoming projects and laying off staff

Niantic introduced Pokemon go in 2016 and the game’s wild success has helped the company to become a known name in the augmented reality and real-world gaming industry. The developers have also extended their collaboration with Nintendo to launch the game Pikmin Bloom and have also recently announced new games like — Peridot and NBA All-World. However, some of the recent failures of the company include a Harry Potter AR title that was shut down in 2021.
Apart from these, Niantic has also ventured into acquiring other companies in the last few years which include — NZXR and SpotX Games. Moreover, the company has also released tools for other developers to explore the real-world gaming space and has even started its developer conference for game-makers to make the most of those tools. Other than that, Niantic has hinted at its involvement in blockchain-based games as they have re-hired veteran employee Chikai Ohazama to serve as the director of web3, reports GameDeveloper.com.
However, the company has now decided to lay off some of its employees and cancel four projects that are in their development phases.
What projects are being cancelled by Niantic
According to a report by Bloomberg, Niantic CEO John Hanke has sent an e-mail to the employees saying that the company is “facing a time of economic turmoil” and is trying to streamline its operations to “best position the company to weather any economic storms that may lie ahead.”
Niantic has decided to lay off eight per cent of its staff which turns out to be about 85 to 90 employees, the report mentions. Moreover, two of the four cancelled games were also publicly announced by the company. These projects include a game called “Transformers Heavy Metal,” which is a Transformers-themed game that was announced by the company in 2021 and “Hamlet” which was developed as an interactive play along with the theatrical company “Sleep No More.” Apart from these, Niantic has also decided to axe two unannounced projects — Blue Sky and Snowball.
As per the report, a Niantic spokesperson has confirmed the layoffs and explained that the decision was taken by the company to “focus on key priorities.” The spokesperson also added, “We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Niantic and we are supporting them through this difficult transition.”
Why is Niantic laying off people?
According to a report by GameDevelopers.com, the recent layoff will not only put some talented developers out of work but also comes as a setback for the company’s hopes of using Pokemon Go’s success to launch its highly praised “real-world metaverse.” Moreover, two of its games — World Explorer and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite were shut down even before running for hitting the three-year mark and Bloomberg has also described Pikmin Bloom as being “unsuccessful,” the report suggests
These decisions have also painted a “somewhat negative picture of Niantic’s business strategy,” the report claims. Meanwhile, the report also suggests that players wouldn’t want to follow the company “into a blended world of digital and real-life experiences if its formula for Ingress and Pokémon Go couldn’t be directly translatable to other game worlds.”
Also Read: Pokemon Go creators have announced a new NBA game. Click here to read more.

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