Pokémon GO developer Niantic lays off 8% of its workforce

"We recently decided to stop production on some projects and reduce our workforce by about 8 per cent to focus on our key priorities," a Niantic spokesperson was quoted as saying by Bloomberg, which first reported the news.

San Francisco: Pokémon GO game developer Niantic has asked eight percent of its workforce to leave the company, which is said to be around 85-90 jobs, media reports say.

According to Engadget, the augmented reality (AR) game company has also cancelled four upcoming 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.

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“We recently decided to stop production on some projects and reduce our workforce by about 8 per cent to focus on our key priorities,” a Niantic spokesperson was quoted as saying by 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,” it added.

One of the games that have 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 theatre project called Hamlet. It was working on that project with the 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 has not yet been able to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle success of 2016’s Pokémon Go, the report said.

The company shut down an AR game based on Harry Potter earlier this year.

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.

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