The company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic is laying off 8% of its staff and canceling 4 projects – TechCrunch
Pokémon GO developer Niantic is having trouble as it builds ‘the real-world metaverse’. Like so many other tech companies facing turbulent economic times, the company decided to lay off 8% of its staff, affecting around 85-90 people. Just seven months ago, the company raised $300 million at a valuation of $9 billion, more than double its valuation from 2018.
In an email to staff, reported by Bloomberg, CEO John Hanke said the company needed to cut costs to best prepare for “economic storms that could come.” Niantic also canceled four upcoming projects: Heavy Metal, a Transformers game that had already entered beta testing; Hamlet, a collaboration with the theater company behind “Sleep No More”; and two other projects called Blue Sky and Snowball. Recently announced games like NBA All-World and Peridot don’t seem to be affected.
While Pokémon GO brings in over $1 billion in revenue every year, other games like Today Gone Harry Potter: Wizards Unite weren’t as successful. Pikmin Flowerwho came out in October, was downloaded approximately 5.6 million times and generated approximately $6.8 million in in-game spend, according to Sensor Tower estimates. By comparison, the hit Pokémon GO earned $500 million in its first two months alone, making it one of the fastest growing mobile games of all time. Not every game will be as monumental as Pokémon GO, but the new games are likely to bring in more than mere fractions of a percent of revenue from Niantic’s most popular app.
In addition to its augmented reality mobile games, Niantic is creating the Lightship AR Development Kit, which makes tools for developing AR games freely available to anyone with a basic knowledge of the Unity game engine. However, starting in January 2023, users will have to pay to access these AR developer tools, which could provide Niantic with another source of revenue.
Niantic did not respond to request for comment prior to publication.