Pokemon Go-themed balloon tied to the ground at Go Fest.
Photo via Niantic

Niantic cuts hundreds of jobs and shuts down multiple games to focus on Pokémon Go

The company is narrowing its focus after some big swings and misses.

Niantic over extended its operations over the last three years and is now cutting hundreds of jobs, shutting down multiple games, and closing a studio in a massive internal restructure with “the goal to do less, better.” And that starts with a focus on keeping Pokémon Go healthy and thriving. 

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In public statement today, Niantic CEO John Hanke confirmed that 230 employees are being laid off and the company’s Los Angeles studio will be shuttered. Additionally, NBA All-World is being sunset just six months after it was globally released, and the upcoming Marvel: World of Heroes project has been canceled. 

This is not even close to the first time Niantic has quickly pulled support from one of its games, but this is a bigger development than just a few projects not showing results. Niantic spread itself too thin after a massively successful 2020 and the repercussions have led to a need to narrow its current focus in a competitive mobile market. 

“In the wake of the revenue surge we saw during Covid, we grew our headcount and related expenses in order to pursue growth more aggressively, expanding existing game teams, our AR platform work, new game projects and roles that support our products and our employees,” Hanke said. “Post Covid, our revenue returned to pre-Covid levels and new projects in games and platform 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.”

Related: Niantic reverses ‘unintended’ Pokémon Go spawn boost—and the community is not happy

Even using properties like NBA or Marvel, Niantic couldn’t find success with some of its AR titles. As a result, those games have been cut and the company is focused on making a smaller handful of games successful on the metrics of “user retention, revenue, and profitability.” 

Niantic says its top priority is ensuring Pokémon Go is “healthy and growing as a forever game.” 

This focused approach should help improve the game leading into Pokémon Go Fest 2023, but large parts of the community have been dissatisfied with a number of the company’s recent decisions and there is a lot of work to do to win that trust back. That comment about revenue and profitability being a priority won’t help with recent events like the Remote Raid changes, either

For now, Pikmin Bloom, Peridot, and Monster Hunter Now are still being completely supported, but Niantic notes that there is a lot of work to be done on those titles to make them last. Now it is just a matter of how this new “direct and results-based culture” will change things, and if it will be for the betterment of players. 


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Author
Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.