Pokémon Go developer Niantic reportedly laid off 85-90 staff and canceled four of its projects in development – including a previously announced Transformers game and a collaboration with theater company Punchdrunk – amid the “ economic turmoil” for society.
That’s according to Bloomberg, which shared parts of an email sent to Niantic staff from the company’s CEO, John Hanke.
In the post, Hanke reportedly blamed today’s project cancellations and layoffs – which will affect approximately 8% of Niantic’s workforce – on the company facing “a period of economic turmoil.” Hanke reportedly claimed the moves would help “further streamline our operations to best position the company to weather any economic storms that may arise.”
While Niantic confirmed it had cut jobs and stopped working on a number of projects in a statement provided to Bloomberg, saying the move would allow it “to focus on our top priorities,” it did not. clarified which titles he had given up. According to Bloomberg, however, two unannounced games – Blue and Snowball – have now been dropped, alongside a Punchdrunk collaboration known as Hamlet, and Heavy Metal, a Transformers game announced last June.
Today’s news follows an already tumultuous time for Niantic, which has struggled to replicate the success of Pokémon Go with its other projects. Last September, it announced it was scrapping an already soft-launched version of board game Catan, and it revealed it was pulling the plug on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite earlier this year after struggling to find an audience.
Despite today’s layoffs and development cuts, Niantic continues to announce new projects. Yesterday he confirmed he was working on a real-world NBA game designed around basketball culture, and last August he laid out a long-term plan for a “real-world” metaverse based on our global reality.