Pokémon Go developer Niantic is closing its Los Angeles Studio, laying off 230 employees while cancelling its NBA and Marvel AR games.
In an "organizational update" this week, Niantic CEO John Hanke said he's decided to "narrow our focus for mobile game investments." Citing a "very mature" mobile games market, he claims "only the best and most differentiated titles have a chance to succeed." As a result, Niantic's now closing its LA studio with 230 job losses and production is ending on Marvel: World of Heroes. NBA All-World, having only released back in January, will be sunset but no timeline was provided.
Detailing his reasoning, Hanke mentions a “tough market environment due to the overall global macroeconomic slowdown, as well as unique challenges in the mobile gaming and AR markets.” He also wrote that Niantic allowed "our expenses to grow faster than revenue" following a surge in profits during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hanke reaffirms Niantic's commitment to AR moving forward but he also discusses increasing focus on "building for the emerging class of MR devices and future AR glasses." He says Meta Quest Pro and the upcoming Apple Vision Pro validate AR's long-term importance with video passthrough, though he calls them "only an intermediate stepping stone to true outdoor AR devices."
As for future projects, Hanke calls Pokémon Go the company's top priority, which remains one of the App Store's most profitable games. He expresses cautious confidence in Pikmin Bloom, Peridot and the upcoming Monster Hunter Now's prospects, alongside continuing investments in their AR platform. That said, expect to hear fewer new game announcements in the future.