It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise by now that Niantic Labs may or may not push through with games other than Pokemon GO. While that mobile AR title continues to bring in users and profits, other excursions have failed to take root and see the same success. That includes not only its original title, Ingress, but also a game that didn’t even fully launch. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has apparently lost the fight, as well, and will be going dark in about three months.
To be honest, it’s a bit of a miracle that the game lasted this long, having launched back in mid-2019. The Harry Potter property is gigantic, of course, and a great cash cow for those who can successfully milk it. It wasn’t always the case for many such products, however, especially games that failed to capture and deliver the same magical experience as the books, the films, and some toys.
That, unfortunately, happened to Niantic Labs’ version of the game, perhaps to very few people’s surprise. Wizards Unite was primarily criticized for being a reskinned Pokemon GO, reusing mostly the same mechanics except for the variety in gestures for casting spells. The timing of its launch, just months before the pandemic exploded, didn’t give it as much to evolve and break free from that mold.
Then there was also the problem of narrative. Unlike Pokemon GO, which is based on an open-ended lore, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite revolved around a specific event and stories around that event. One can only stretch that story so long, definitely not beyond two years.
And so Niantic Labs is finally announcing that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is closing on January 31, 2022, giving players plenty of time to enjoy the final moments of the game and, more importantly, use the remaining in-game currencies they have. The latter is important since they won’t be offering refunds anyway. Niantic will also be removing the game from app stores on December 6, 2021, so make sure you don’t accidentally uninstall the game after that date, or you won’t be able to reinstall it anymore.
The announcement comes on the heels of the launch of Pikmin Bloom, another AR game from Nintendo’s IP. There is also a Transformers game in the works, but the shutdown of Wizards Unite might not inspire much confidence in investing time, emotion, and money on titles that may be gone in a year or two.
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