Niantic is making some major organizational changes, including layoffs, game shutdowns, and the closure of its Los Angeles studio, according to an email from Niantic CEO John Hanke shared on the company’s website. The changes are designed to narrow the company’s focus, especially on developing and maintaining its cash cow, Pokémon Go.
Pokémon Go is nearing its seventh birthday, and it’s still incredibly relevant; according to Sensor Tower data shared in June 2022, the game has earned about $1 billion in revenue per year. But it’s shut down later attempts to recapture lightning in a bottle, including games based on Harry Potter, Catan, and four other titles as part of layoffs last year. Other companies haven’t had much success with the genre, either; Microsoft shut down Minecraft Earth, and CD Projekt Red is officially shuttering its AR game in The Witcher series on June 30th.
Alongside this round of layoffs, which will affect about 230 employees, Niantic will be “sunsetting” its NBA game, NBA All World, Hanke said, and will stop production on its Marvel game, Marvel World of Heroes.
Despite the many game shutdowns, Niantic remains “long term believers in augmented reality as the future form factor for computing,” Hanke said. The company is also keeping an eye on mixed reality devices like the Meta Quest Pro and Apple Vision Pro, which he says are “an intermediate stepping stone to true outdoor AR devices.”