Pokémon GO developer Niantic announces layoffs and cancels upcoming Marvel game

by Danny Craig  · 
Pokémon GO developer Niantic announces layoffs and cancels upcoming Marvel game

The developer best known for its augmented reality mobile titles is shuttering its Los Angeles studio as a result of an internal restructuring, leading to over 200 employees being let go.

The details:

  • In an email to employees on June 29, CEO John Hanke announced that 230 employees would be laid off, as well as the cancellation of Marvel: World of Heroes and NBA All-World, as the company "allowed [its] expenses to grow faster than revenue." According to Hanke, Niantic experienced a revenue surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting it to pursue growth "more aggressively" by increasing its headcount and expanding its projects with the financial boost it received. However, since the pandemic, its revenue has dropped to pre-COVID levels, with its most recent projects failing to generate enough success to cover expenses.
  • Hanke cites the current economy, as well as the crowded mobile market and advertising, as factors making it "increasingly hard to launch new mobile games at scale." He also stated that the AR market is not expanding at the expected rate due to lower investments and other technological challenges. Regardless, Niantic will continue to work on its AR roadmap and platform to "deliver the features that developers want in a robust and reliable way.”
  • In the future, the developer will focus on growing its most popular title, Pokémon GO, as well as attempting to make its most recent and upcoming releases, including Pikmin Bloom, Peridot, and Monster Hunter Now, a success "in terms of user retention, revenue, and profitability." The platform team's workforce will be reduced to reflect the reduced number of projects, to do "less, better." Overall, Niantic will shift to a "more direct and results-based culture," with its leadership focusing on "unnecessary processes, duplicate lines of authority, and unclear decision-making" in the future.

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