Niantic, the maker of the video game Pokémon Go, has said it is laying off a quarter of its workforce as demand for the video game slows after a spike in downloads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from this, the company will also cancel two game titles and shut down its Los Angeles studio, according to a report. BBC,
Niantic chief executive John Hanke said in a statement“I have made the decision to expand my focus for mobile game investing with a focus on first-party games that most strongly embody our core values of location and local social communities.”
He said that the company has decided to cut 230 jobs. “Specifically, this means we will close our LA studio, reduce our game platform team and make additional cuts across the company. As a result, we will close NBA All-World and Marvel: World of Will be ceasing production on Heroes. This means we’re laying off approximately 230 Niantics.”
The company will also be retiring the Marvel World of Heroes game along with its recently released NBA All-World game.
Niantic said the company “allowed our expenses to grow faster than revenues.” He further added, “Post-Covid, our revenue returned to pre-Covid levels and new projects in games and platforms have not delivered revenue commensurate with those investments.” With the layoffs, the company believes that expenses and revenue will return “while preserving our core assets and long-term upside.”
It is noteworthy that when Pokémon Go was introduced in 2016, it quickly became popular worldwide with thousands of downloads. Many people and gamers will search public areas to find virtual characters including Pikachu and Snorlax. However, there were many reports of users who disobeyed the safety instructions and caused car accidents, robberies, injuries and death. According to the tech giant, the augmented reality game reportedly broke Apple’s record for most downloads in a single week.
Niantic announced in June 2022 that it would end four projects and lay off about eight percent of its workforce.