Niantic lays off more than 200 employees and closes a studio in Los Angeles. The success of Pokémon Go alone is apparently not enough.
AR studio Niantic is closing its Los Angeles development studio and laying off about 230 employees. These measures are intended to ensure the company’s financial stability. In addition, development of the game NBA All World will be discontinued and the planned release of Marvel World of Heroes will be postponed indefinitely.
Unsuccessful AR apps burn money
According to Bloomberg, CEO John Hanke explained the restructuring in an email to employees. He said the company’s expenses have grown faster than its revenue. “New projects in games and platform have not delivered revenues commensurate with those investments”, Hanke said.
Among the money burners is likely Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which was canceled in early 2022, Catan AR, and Peridot, which was supposed to follow in the footsteps of the wildly successful Pokémon Go with cute AR pets. Most recently, Niantic released the XR app Wol to add a talking AI owl.
Economic challenges lead to job cuts
The restructuring will result in the loss of approximately 230 jobs. However, Hanke emphasized that these measures will help bring expenses and revenues back in line while preserving the company’s core assets.
Last year, Niantic shut down four projects and laid off 8 percent of its employees. According to a Bloomberg report in May, the company has struggled with skepticism about the metaverse concept.
Pokémon Go creator John Hanke has criticized Meta in the past, calling for a “healthy metaverse.” Instead of a purely virtual world, he said, the digital world should be integrated with the real world through augmented reality.