Niantic, the creator behind the wildly popular mobile game Pokémon Go, released an unfortunate “Organizational Update” on June 29 that includes laying off “around 230 Niantics.”
“I have some news to share with you about steps we’re taking to set Niantic up for the future. They mean some difficult changes for our organization, but I believe they are important if we are to weather the current challenges in the market and take advantage of the long term opportunity in front of us,” said founder and CEO of Niantic, John Hanke. “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.”
Niantic, Inc. is going to close the doors of its studio in Los Angeles. With the development team growing smaller, Hanke announced that the company with not continue production with Marvel: World of Heroes and NBA All-World. The San Francisco-based company will hone its focus more on the growing development of MR and AR devices. The update comes after a recent string of unpopular changes and missteps to the game this year.
Back in February, Niantic decided to try and rebalance the game by raising prices. The cost of a single and three-pack of remote raid passes went up sharply. The in-game currency of gold coins needed went from 100 to 195 and 300 to 525. In other words, the increase percentages sit at 95% and 75%, respectively.
More recently, June’s Beach Week event reportedly ended early for some trainers in Eastern time zones with many being in the Americas.
I caught a Scatterbug with an Excellent throw and a pinap berry and only received 6 candy for it, when with the bonus active I’ve been getting at least double that amount for catching with an Excellent throw and pinap. Can you please fix it? 2/2
— Wolfman (@RealHankWolfman) June 12, 2023
Additionally, June brought the “unintended” mishap of the temporarily increased spawn distance.
Some Trainers may have experienced an increase to the current interaction radius. This was the unintended effect of a bug fix intended to improve the Pokémon encounter experience when your device is experiencing GPS drift. While we’re reverting this change, we will take your…
— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) June 27, 2023
As a result, Niantic seems to be growing through a bumpy 2023. Despite this, Pokémon Go remains in second place on its Google Play Store listing, for “top grossing in adventure.” It lists the game as having been downloaded over 100 million times.
“The top priority is to keep Pokémon GO healthy and growing as a forever game,” said Hanke. “While we made some adjustments to the Pokémon GO team, our investment in the product and team continues to grow.”
Happy seventh anniversary, Pokémon Go.