After announcing the NBA All-World AR game, Pokémon Go developer Niantic informed its staff recently that they’ll be making budget cuts. What that meant for some of the employees is that they’ll have to leave. Part of the announcement is that it’s canceling four projects. But…is everything as it seems?
John Hanke, Chief Executive Officer of Niantic, wrote an email to several staff members where he told them the company is making some changes. Apparently, it’s facing financial difficulties and has to let some of the staff go. However, he did mention that the company will continue to support them while looking for new work.
Niantic has been striving to replicate the success of Pokémon Go. According to SensorTower, the company makes about $1 billion per year on the AR game, which is not a surprise. Even during the pandemic, it changed the game so you could still catch Pokémon from home and remotely battle others in theirs.
The news of Niantic’s financial difficulties does come as a surprise. The four projects it’s canceling are Heavy Metal, Hamlet, Snowball, and Blue Sky. You may also recall that they dropped Harry Potter: Wizards Unite earlier this year.
What pecks me as strange is that they’re continuing with the development of the AR Lightship and NBA All-World AR games. If you ask me, it feels as if they know these will be massively successful projects, so they’re diverting all their funds and resources there. The metaverse promises to be financially rewarding to any company that makes a brilliant game in it.
So perhaps the financial difficulty is simply not having enough resources to pump more funds into those potential cash-cow projects. Or maybe they’re really having funding issues. I guess only time will tell.