Pokemon Go Studio Lays Off Staff And Cancels Projects

A close up photo of a phone screen shows the Niantic logo.

photo: Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket (Getty Images)

The mobile game company behind pokemongo, Niantic is struggling to find its next big hit. And now, a new report claims the studio canceled multiple projects and laid off staff members in an effort to “streamline” operations.

The San Francisco-based publisher cut 85 to 90 jobs and canceled four in-development games, including a transformers spin-off announced last year called metal, according to a Bloomberg report published today, Bloomberg further reported that an email was sent from CEO John Hanke to staff that said the company was “facing a time of economic turmoil” and that after previous efforts to cut costs, Niantic still needed to “further streamline our operations in order to best position the company to weather any economic storms that may lie ahead.”

Other reportedly canceled games include Hamleta planned collaboration between Niantic and theater company Punchdrunkand blue sky and Snowballbut it’s unclear if those were planned titles or internal codenames.

Niantic found big success with 2016’s AR powered pokemon go, but it still hasn’t been able to replicate that success. In 2019, the studio released Harry Potter: Wizards Unitebut it never found a large audience and was eventually shut down earlier this year. Other games based on Pikmin and Catan have also failed to set the world on fire.

ReadMore: Niantic Mapped The World. Now They’re Mapping You

In a statement sent to Kotakua Niantic spokesperson confirmed the news of the layoffs and explained it planned to continue to support pokemon go and its other games and projects.

“We recently decided to stop production on some projects and reduce our workforce by about eight percent to focus on our key priorities,” said Niantic. “We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Niantic, and we are supporting them through this difficult transition.

The company also told Kotaku that this move will allow the company to focus more on “new experiences” and that it will “continue investing in the future of AR.”

While it’s true Niantic will keep investing in new games—the company did just announce a new project with the NBA after all—it’s unlikely that those laid off will find comfort in that fact. I can’t imagine watching your company continue to make billions of dollars on a single game while laying off staff is a good way to boost morale.

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