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Niantic is shutting down its LA-based studio, it announced today. As part of a mass restructuring, the company is abandoning all internal game development, canceling or shutting down licensed titles and laying off about 230 employees. Instead, the company appears to be refocusing all of its efforts into augmenting Pokémon GO, though it also says it’s keeping up efforts on some of its other titles, including the recently launched Peridot.
John Hanke, Niantic’s founder and CEO, said in the announcement that the company had “allowed our expenses to grow faster than revenue” as it expanded in the wake of the pandemic. But the projects it launched “have not delivered revenues commensurate with those investments. This change will bring expenses and revenue back into line while preserving our core assets and long-term upside.”
As for the future of specific games, Niantic is sunsetting NBA All-World and cancelling development on Marvel: World of Heroes. Hanke says the priority is to “keep Pokémon GO healthy and growing as a forever game.” Pokémon GO recently faced criticism from users as it launched and immediately rolled back positive features. The company will also work on the user retention and profitability of Pikmin Bloom, Peridot and Monster Hunter Now.
Niantic is also working on improvements to its technology, says Hanke, improving its AR platform and maps. “In the upcoming world of headsets, we expect much fragmentation and we believe, as was the case in mobile, that content creators will demand cross-platform solutions that enable them to leverage their content investment across the greatest number of devices and users.”
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