Niantic’s John Hanke told staffers today that the reorg will affect employment as well as some games: “Specifically, this means we will be closing our LA studio, reducing our game platform team and making additional reductions across the company. As a result, we will be sunsetting NBA All-World and stopping production on Marvel: World of Heroes. This means we are laying off around 230 Niantics.” He says the company is spending more than earning post-COVID, and its new projects haven’t paid off – obvious to those of us watching on the outside too – and he argues that changes in the economy and mobile market have posed new challenges. Oh, he also blames the workers, later implying that the company has retained and will reward “high performing” workers who are “committed to the company” and “working tirelessly” on its projects.
“We also bear responsibility for our own performance. Today’s highly competitive mobile gaming market requires dazzling quality and innovation. It also requires strong monetization and a social core which can drive viral growth and long term engagement. Teams need platform tools that are force multipliers, enabling them to build at the highest quality with powerful engagement features quickly and efficiently. Our AR map and platform must deliver the features that developers want in a robust and reliable way. We have not met our goals in all of these areas.”
It does look as though some layoffs hit the Pokemon Go team, though the game itself is… well not fine, as we’ve chronicled, but marching forward: “The top priority is to keep Pokémon GO healthy and growing as a forever game. While we made some adjustments to the Pokémon GO team, our investment in the product and team continues to grow.” Likewise, the company says it will continue to work on Pikmin Bloom, Peridot, and Monster Hunter Now, as well as its AR map and AR platform.