Pokémon Go firm Niantic lays off over 200 staff in major restructure

pokemon go niantic

Pokémon Go developer Niantic is laying off around 230 employees and closes its LA studio, citing “current challenges in the market”.


In a major company shake-up, Pokémon Go developer Niantic is to lay off “around 230” employees, close its LA studio, and cancel development on two games.

Niantic boss John Hanke announced the news in an email to employees – cosily dubbed ‘Niantics’ – in which he cited “current challenges in the market” as the reasoning behind the drastic measures.

“Why are we making this change?” Hanke asked himself in the email, published on the firm’s website. “We have allowed our expenses to grow faster than our revenue. 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.”

Pokémon Go is still Niantic’s major source of revenue, and Hanke writes that Niantic’s “top priority is to keep Pokémon Go healthy and growing as a forever game.”

Read more: Pokemon Go studio Niantic to close Trading Post NFT project

Hanke also pledges ongoing support for other games in its portfolio, including Pikmin Bloom, Peridot and Monster Hunter Now. 

A couple of the developer’s other titles, meanwhile, are less lucky: basketball-themed mobile game NBA All-World is to be shut down, and production is to cease on Marvel World of Heroes.

That latter announcement is particularly surprising, given that work on Marvel World of Heroes appeared to be almost complete; at the time of writing, its website still says that it will “soon be entering soft launch” and that “your super hero journey begins in 2023.”


Not anymore. Credit: Niantic.

Increased competition in the augmented reality space – not to mention what looks increasingly like a recession in the tech sector – are also listed as reasons for Niantic’s restructure. “We are operating in a tough market environment due to the overall global macroeconomic slowdown,” Hanke writes, “as well as unique challenges in the mobile gaming and AR markets. In the years since Pokémon Go’s launch, the mobile market has become crowded and changes to the app store and the mobile advertising landscape have made it increasingly hard to launch new mobile games at scale.”

Here’s hoping the affected former ‘Niantics’ find new employment soon.

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