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Niantic's AR Catan game is shutting down on November 18th

·Contributing Writer
·1 min read

Niantic is discontinuing development on Catan: World Explorers. Announced in the fall of 2019, the studio had yet to release the game officially, and it was only available in early access in select markets outside of the US. Later today, Niantic plans to remove World Explorers from the App Store before shutting down the servers that power the game on November 18th, making it unplayable thereafter. With today’s announcement, the augmented reality title will not roll out to additional countries, and Niantic has removed all in-app purchases from the experience.

It’s not clear what exactly went wrong with development but it appears scope creep may have played a part in Niantic’s decision to cancel the project. “We had a vision for trading, harvesting and building up the world in seasonal play and resetting the board each month, just like you do for each new game you play at home,” the company said in a blog post spotted by Protocol. “But trying to adapt such a well-designed board game to a global, location-based Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game was a tough challenge."

Niantic notes that lessons it learned while working on World Explorers will go on to inform future projects. However, it’s hard to say what the cancellation will mean for the company’s other games. Following the runaway success of Pokémon Go, a variety of companies have partnered with Niantic to create similar AR experiences using their own properties. More notable examples include Hasbro and Warner Bros. Those same companies may now realize replicating the success of Pokémon Go may not be as easy as they initially thought it was.

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