Pokemon Go developer cancels Marvel game amid layoffs

Alolan Exeggutor in Pokemon GO
(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon Go developer Niantic has announced that it is laying off 230 employees while closing its Los Angeles office. As a result, Niantic will also cancel its planned Marvel: World of Heroes mobile game.

The news came in an announcement from Niantic CEO John Hanke, who says the company plans to refocus its efforts primarily on Pokemon Go, necessitating the cancelation of Marvel: World of Heroes, which was initially announced back in September 2022. Niantic will also discontinue its support of its NBA All-World mobile game.

"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," Hanke's statement says. "The mobile gaming market is very mature and only the best and most differentiated titles have a chance to succeed. We also want to increase our focus on building for the emerging class of MR devices and future AR glasses."

The statement goes on to lay out Hanke's plan for Niantic, which includes continuing to support its Pikmin Bloom, Monster Hunter Now, and Peridot alongside its flagship game Pokemon Go.

"Today’s highly competitive mobile gaming market requires dazzling quality and innovation. It also requires strong monetization and a social core which can drive viral growth and long term engagement," Hanke's statement continues. "Teams need platform tools that are force multipliers, enabling them to build at the highest quality with powerful engagement features quickly and efficiently. Our AR map and platform must deliver the features that developers want in a robust and reliable way."

Niantic's Pokemon Go released in 2016, quickly becoming a social sensation. Now 7 years in, the game is still one of the most popular mobile games around.

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George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)