The creator of the hit mobile game Pokemon Go canceled a number of upcoming matches and laid off around 8% of its staff. Bloomberg was first to report that Niantic laid off between 85 and 90 employees this week, citing the need to “streamline further” its operations in anticipation of economic uncertainty. A spokesperson confirmed the news to Bloomberg, stating that Niantic “recently decided to halt production on certain projects and reduce our workforce by approximately 8% to focus on our top priorities. We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Niantic and we support them. through this difficult transition.”
The company has also canceled a number of projects, including an augmented reality game featuring the Transformers. Three other projects, named “Hamlet”, “Blue Sky” and “Snowball” were also canceled as part of the layoffs. Hamlet was a collaboration between Niantic and Punchdrunk, the theater company behind the play Don’t sleep anymore. Niantic previously canceled games based on Harry Potter and the CATAN board game, the latter of which never passed its beta stage.
The news comes just a day after Niantic announced a new collaboration with the NBA called NBA All World, which will allow players to collect NBA players and pit them against other players’ teams. This game is expected to release during the 2022-2023 NBA season. Niantic noted that it will continue to work on this game as well as Pokemon Go and other active projects.
Although Pokemon Go remains one of the most successful mobile games currently on the market, Niantic has struggled to replicate its success despite a string of high-profile IPs and partnerships. He also had an up and down relationship with Pokemon Go fans, with fans regularly pushing back on changes to the game, especially after Niantic rolled back several adjustments made during the COVID-19 pandemic.