Niantic Inc, the developer of the AR game Pokémon Go, has reportedly laid off eight percent of staff members and canceled four upcoming games.
In an email statement, CEO John Hanke has expressed that the company is going through an economically tumultuous phase and is striving to optimize its operations to reinforce the company for withstanding any upcoming economic troubles.
With this announcement, around 85-90 employees will lose their jobs. Out of the four projects, two of the games comprised publicly announced titles Hamlet which was a collaborative effort with the theatrical company responsible for the interactive play Sleep No More; and Transformers-themed game Transformers Heavy Metal. Snowball and Blue Sky were the remaining two axed projects.
The company has appreciated the contributions of the laid-off staff and will provide them with sufficient support through this challenging transition.
Niantic has been riding on the massive success of Pokémon Go to place itself as a leading developer of real-world and augmented reality games. It launched and canned a Harry Potter game, extended its collaboration with Nintendo for Pikmin Bloom, and recently announced new games like NBA All-World and Peridot.
Over the past few years, the company has also acquired several companies like SpotX and NZXR to its portfolio. It has rolled out tools for other developers to enter the phenomenon of real-world games.
Niantic even unveiled its developer conference for game developers seeking to explore these tools. The company indicated its intention to venture into blockchain-based games, rehiring experienced employee Chikai Ohazama.
However, canceling new projects, shutting down popular branded games, and laying off employees could be detrimental to the business strategy of Niantic. These layoffs could not only put a lot of talent out of work but also create problems for Niantic in launching its real-world metaverse leveraging its success with Pokémon Go.