Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, has laid off over 250 employees and canceled upcoming games to solely work on its popular mobile game. Apparently, these extensive layoffs are part of a strategy to help the company refocus on its creature-collecting game but it’s not a great look.
John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, confirmed the controversial move to keep working on Go and nothing else on the company’s website. This, in turn, has led to a number of apps in development getting canceled, including Marvel: World of Heroes. The NBA All-World mobile game will also be discontinued.
"I have made the decision to narrow our focus for mobile game investments, concentrating on first-party games that most strongly embody our core values of location and local social communities," Hanke's statement says.
"The mobile gaming market is very mature and only the best and most differentiated titles have a chance to succeed. We also want to increase our focus on building for the emerging class of MR devices and future AR glasses."
While Pokémon GO is the main focus, there are a number of other games from the company that survived this cost-cutting decision. Pikmin Bloom, Monster Hunter Now, and Peridot were able to survive this cost-cutting maneuver but we won’t know for how long. Considering how they don’t seem to be making Pokémon money, we hope for the best.
Seeing Niantic make this announcement is a bit odd since the company often talks up all the money it makes from its Pokémon app. One would think that the company could take a risk or two with more of these mobile apps.
This definitely doesn’t help with the problematic image Niantic has made for itself. Pokémon GO fans have been angry with this company for a while, with bad gym battles and increased price rates ruining what was once a fun game. Based on this, it looks like fans have every right to stay mad at Niantic.
Niantic is still dedicated to the development of its augmented reality technology, a competitor to Apple’s ridiculously expensive Apple Vision technology. While Niantic’s tech is focused more towards augmented reality gaming, there’s still a sense it won’t be very popular.