According to Bloomberg, Niantic, the creator behind the popular Pokémon GO mobile game, has announced that it is canceling four upcoming projects and will cut 8% of staff, meaning between 85 to 90 jobs.
“We recently decided to stop production on some projects and reduce our workforce by about 8% to focus on our key priorities. We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Niantic and we are supporting them through this difficult transition.”
In a staff email sent by Niantic Chief Executive Officer John Hanke, it was explained that the company was “facing a time of economic turmoil” and that additional changes need to be made to help the company “weather any economic storms that may lie ahead.”
Of the canceled games, it’s unclear what Blue Sky and Snowball were going to be like. However we do know that the other two canceled projects were a Transformers property called Heavy Metal and a game called Hamlet which would have been in collaboration with the theatrical company Punchdrunk.
While Pokémon GO has continued to bring in tons of revenue at about $1 billion per year, Niantic has been unsuccessful in reproducing this popularity with its other projects. Even Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Pikmin Bloom, and Catan – World Explorers, which all had a similar mobile experience and established fan bases weren’t received well.
In April, Niantic announced that it is working on a brand new creature collecting mobile game called Peridot, which seems to still be in production. Additionally, this last Tuesday, Niantic announced that it was partnering with the National Basketball Association to create a new mobile game called NBA All-World. The company confirmed that it will continue to work on this NBA mobile game as well as Pokémon GO going forward.
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