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Niantic, Creator of Pokemon Go, Announces Layoffs of 230 Employees and Game Cancellations

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Niantic Announces Layoffs and Reorganization Plans

Mobile Games Developer Niantic Restructuring Operations

Niantic, a San Francisco-based mobile games developer, has revealed its plans to lay off 230 employees as part of a company-wide reorganization. Alongside the layoffs, the company will also cancel the development of NBA All-World and a yet-to-be-released Marvel-based game. Additionally, Niantic will be closing down its Los Angeles studio, primarily affecting employees based there. This move reflects the changing landscape of the mobile games industry since the success of Pokemon Go in 2016.

Challenges in the Mobile Games Industry

In recent years, both Apple and Google have implemented changes to their app stores, making it more difficult and expensive for developers to advertise and attract new users. These changes have contributed to the challenges faced by Niantic in launching new mobile games on a large scale. Niantic's CEO, John Hanke, attributed the reorganization to internal and external factors, including a global economic slowdown.

Niantic's Commitment to Pokemon Go

Despite the reorganization, Niantic has stated that supporting and maintaining Pokemon Go remains their top priority. Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game that allows users to interact with digital monsters in the real world through their phone's screen, has been a major success for the company. Niantic's commitment to Pokemon Go demonstrates their dedication to maintaining the game's popularity and user base.

The Future of Augmented Reality

The reorganization at Niantic also reflects a broader shift in the augmented reality (AR) industry. While Pokemon Go demonstrated the potential of integrating computer graphics and data into the real world, newer technologies such as headsets and goggles are emerging as the next major computing platform. Companies like Meta and Apple are releasing advanced VR headsets that will further advance the integration of the real and virtual worlds. Niantic sees this as an opportunity to develop key content and platform services that align with this technological shift.

In conclusion, Niantic's decision to reorganize and lay off employees is a response to the evolving mobile games industry and the challenges it faces in launching new games at scale. Despite these challenges, Niantic remains committed to the success of Pokemon Go. Additionally, the company recognizes the potential of the emerging AR market and aims to play a significant role in its development.


The recent announcement of Niantic's layoffs and reorganization raises important considerations for new businesses entering the mobile games industry. The changing landscape and challenges faced by Niantic serve as a cautionary tale for entrepreneurs seeking success in this highly competitive market.

The challenges in the mobile games industry, such as the increasing difficulty and expense of attracting users, highlight the importance of strategic planning and adaptability. New businesses must be prepared to navigate the evolving app store landscape and explore creative ways to reach their target audience without relying solely on expensive advertising campaigns.

Furthermore, the commitment shown by Niantic to maintain Pokemon Go's popularity despite the reorganization emphasizes the value of nurturing a dedicated user base. Building a strong and engaged community around a product is crucial for long-term success, as it provides a foundation for growth and resilience during challenging times.

Additionally, the emergence of technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality presents both opportunities and challenges for new businesses. As the AR industry continues to evolve, entrepreneurs must stay ahead of the curve and identify ways to leverage these new platforms to deliver compelling experiences to their users.

Overall, the Niantic situation serves as a reminder that the mobile games industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. By staying agile, understanding the challenges, and capitalizing on emerging technologies, new businesses can position themselves for success in this competitive market.

Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/29/pokemon-go-maker-niantic-lays-off-230-employees-cancels-games-.html

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