Two Years Later

It’s been two years since our last update. What has been keeping Niantic busy?

First of all, Niantic officially killed off Catan World Explorers in November, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unlimited is being shut down in January. We will miss collecting logs and curses, but Niantic is beta testing Transformers: Heavy Metal in New Zealand and the Philippines and released Pikmin Bloom in November to fill the void.

Pokémon Go continues to be a cash cow for Niantic. After a $1 Billion year in 2020, they are on track to earn $1.2 Billion in 2021. Gameplay adjustments in 2020 helped trainers play safely during the ongoing COVID pandemic, and the community declared a Pokémon No Day when Niantic attempted to scale back the changes in August.

Niantic launched Lightship, their AR development framework, in November. Since Niantic makes so much money from Pokémon Go, they can afford to give Lightship away for free. That’s right; you can download Lightship and develop AR games with it for free as long as they are single-player. You have to pay a fee to make a multi-player game.

The bastard stepchild of Niantic, Ingress, has new features. Niantic surveyed Ingress agents, collected all the responses, and ignored them. Ingress gets Drones and Kinetic Capsules because the ability to craft VR Shields and SoftBank Ultra Link Amps is more pressing than battery life or playing in low signal areas.

Finally, Niantic completed a fifth round of funding in November. We have no clue why they needed a fifth round of funding. After all, Pokémon Go will likely earn $1.2 billion this year, and they are giving Lightship away for free. Whatever is going on, they managed to convince someone to throw another $300 million at them.