The shakeup at Niantic Inc. cannot go unnoticed. As published on Entrepreneur 360, Tristan Rose wrote, “According to Niantic’s Crunchbase profile, Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, has raised $770 million over 5 rounds giving them a post-money valuation in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion as of November 23, 2021.”
And eight months later, this company is laying off workers (up to 90, according to Bloomberg) and changing priorities. In other reports, John Hanke wrote in an internal email to say this company is “facing a time of economic turmoil” and had already been “reducing costs in a variety of areas.”
The shift is unusual, and many fans are speculating.
The effect on upcoming products means cancelling them altogether. Not only was Niantic to help market and distribute Transformers: Heavy Metal, a Pokémon GO like game, but also they were to produce three other games using the same engine. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, fans can’t say. Very few people may have seen a demo. I wasn’t too excited myself when I offered my opinion about it, but I’d still try the game out. The website for this game is still online at time of writing.
Technically, Seattle-based Very Spaceship is developing the product with Hasbro and Tomy to assist. Maybe one day, we’ll get an answer about the behind the scenes drama in a documentary about augmented reality geolocation based gaming.
I can only guess at what may have happened. When a company can’t deliver a product, there’s a fine. Hasbro is no doubt unhappy, and the penalty Niantic has to pay is no doubt being shifted to the players to pony up instead of John Hanke’s own bank account.
Ingress and Pokémon GO are the only games that make money. I can’t say anything about the former. However, I have noticed in Pokémon GO that the loot boxes are not as good. It costs more to get specific items in order to make game play easier. There’s been no announcement if this in-game offering is temporarily during the localised Pokémon GO Berlin (happening this weekend), Seattle or Sapporo events. As a result, interest in continuing to play the game may stop for some, and as far as Snorax is concerned, he’ll continue to be that roadblock.
Also, the price for the in-city events as part of Pokémon GO Fest is higher than before. Technically, they’re designed to help boost the economy of the host cities more than anything else, and that’s okay. As many other gamers have pointed out, apparently tickets are still available and this leads me to think the love for the game dwindled, and the company is doing everything they can to boister spending for in-game goods.
Although I’ll continue to play the game, it won’t be like before. These days, it’s mostly about grinding for candy and stardust than finding new ‘mon. That’s the only way improve that one Pokémon to dish out the hurt. As for how long this company can remain the leader of augmented reality game development, I believe their prestige was lost some time ago.
According to Goodfirms.com Top AR Game Developer Companies list, they’re not even on the leaderboard. I’ve also checked Software Testing Help’s Top 14 list, and they’re nowhere to be found. Whether Niantic is paving the way for the future of augmented reality gaming, it seems they’re no longer on top.