The maker of the video game Pokemon Go, Niantic, has announced that it is letting off of 25% of its staff since a decline in demand for video games after the Covid-19 pandemic’s spike in downloads. According to a BBC narrative, the company will also cancel two game titles and shut down its Los Angeles studio.

Niantic’s Chief Executive John Hanke said in a statement, “I have made the decision to narrow our focus for mobile game investments, concentrating on first party games that most strongly embody our core values of location and local social communities”.

“The top priority is to keep Pokemon Go healthy and growing as a forever game,” Mr Hanke said.

However, he also said that since the game’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.”

He added that the company has decided to cut 230 jobs. “Specifically, this means we will be closing our LA studio, reducing our game platform team and making additional reductions across the company. As a result, we will be sunsetting NBA All-World and stopping production on Marvel: World of Heroes. This means we are laying off around 230 Niantics.”

When the Pokemon Go phenomenon was at its height, gamers were swarming the streets in search of virtual creatures like Pikachu and Snorlax.

Some users disregarded security warnings, which led to car crashes, muggings, injuries, and even death.

Niantic said in June of last year that it would cancel four projects and lay off about 8% of its workforce.

The latest modifications come in response to May news that the company’s Pokemon Go sales were falling.

“We generally don’t comment on third-party estimates of our revenue as they are often incorrect, which is the case here,” a Niantic spokesperson said at the time.

“Our revenue so far in 2023 is up on last year,” the spokesperson added.

As a private company, Niantic is not required to make its earnings reports public.

Game of interest: Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is with no a doubt Niantic’s gold cow, with more than a billion downloads and $1 billion in annual revenue. The company also wants it to lay more eggs.

“The top priority is to keep Pokémon GO healthy and growing as a forever game,” Hanke said, adding that the company continues to grow its investment in staff and product.

But Niantic must go carefully. Some players have been frustrated by recent changes to the game that scattered Pikachus and Charmanders around the world so people could “catch ’em all” with their phones. Niantic raised the price of its Remote Raid passes, which allow players participate in collective battles with bosses without having there, in March. People hailed Niantic earlier this month for increasing the catch radius, but the company later rolled it back and stated it was an error.


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