In an e mail to employees printed on the agency’s web site, Niantic boss John Hanke basically described the layoffs because the outcomes of a Covid hangover.
The corporate had grown too quick in the course of the pandemic — when folks have been gaming like mad throughout lockdowns — however is now being squeezed by a world financial slowdown, he mentioned.
Hanke additionally admitted that it was changing into more and more tough to launch new video games in a “crowded” mobile-gaming market.
Niantic is thought for its augmented-reality video games that make gamers compete in mini-games whereas outdoor. The format was launched to the world in 2016 with the smash hit Pokémon Go recreation.
Nonetheless, Niantic has struggled to duplicate that title’s success regardless of hanging main partnerships with leisure and sports activities franchises.
In 2019, it launched Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, solely to close it down final yr on account of an absence of an viewers. A recreation based mostly on the board recreation Catan was additionally unsuccessful.
Missing one other hit title, Niantic introduced final summer season that it was slicing round 85 to 90 jobs, or roughly eight per cent of employees, and shelving a slew of merchandise.
The cancelled tasks encompassed Heavy Metallic, a Transformers recreation that Niantic introduced final yr; and Hamlet, a collaboration between Niantic and Punchdrunk, the theatrical firm behind the favored interactive play Sleep No Extra. A further two tasks referred to as Blue Sky and Snowball have been additionally shelved.
The most recent spherical of layoffs will inevitably elevate questions on Niantic’s future and its remaining high-profile merchandise. In response to Hanke, the corporate will now focus its sources on a smaller batch of titles.
Going ahead, Niantic will dedicate its efforts to turning Pokémon Go right into a “without end recreation”, and on making successful of newer video games together with Pikmin Bloom, a title based mostly on the Nintendo collection, creature-slaying recreation Monster Hunter Now, and Peridot, the digital pet recreation it launched in Might.
“We’re decreasing and focusing our platform staff according to the decreased variety of video games we’re constructing, with the objective to do much less, higher,” Hanke mentioned.