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Niantic is laying off about 90 employees and canceling four projects

·Contributing Reporter
·2 min read
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pokémon Go developer Niantic is laying off eight percent of its workforce, which is said to be around 85-90 jobs. The augmented reality game company has also canceled four projects. CEO John Hanke reportedly wrote in an email to employees that Niantic was “facing a time of economic turmoil” and had to “further streamline our operations in order to best position the company" to weather any future economic turmoil.

“We recently decided to stop production on some projects and reduce our workforce by about eight percent to focus on our key priorities,” a Niantic spokesperson told Bloomberg, which first reported the news. “We are grateful for the contributions of those leaving Niantic and we are supporting them through this difficult transition.”

One of the games that has been shelved is Transformers: Heavy Metal. Niantic and Hasbro announced that title in 2021 and had been testing it in some markets since last summer. Niantic has also canned an immersive theater project called Hamlet. It was working on that project with theater group Punchdrunk, which is behind an immersive production of Macbeth called Sleep No More. The other two shelved projects are called Blue Sky and Snowball.

Niantic hasn't yet been able to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle success of 2016's Pokémon Go. The company shut down an AR game based on Harry Potter earlier this year. Bloomberg notes that titles based on Catan (which shuttered last year) and Nintendo's Pikmin haven't been successful either.

News of the layoffs and project cancellations comes one day after Niantic announced NBA All-World, a basketball game it's making in collaboration with the NBA and the league's players' association. Meanwhile, the company will soon release an app that will help Pokémon Go players chat with each other. It's also working on an original game called Peridot and collaborating with other companies on AR apps.