Niantic said in a blog post on Tuesday that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an augmented-reality game akin to Pokemon Go, will be closing down early next year.
On December 6, the mobile game will be deleted from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and it will be discontinued on January 31, 2022.
“Not all games are meant to exist forever,” Niantic, which co-developed the game with WB Games, writes in a blog post. “With Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, our goal was to impart the wonder of the wizarding world to millions of gamers as they stepped outside and explored their communities.”
Following the great success of their previous AR game Pokemon Go, Niantic released Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in 2019. The game puts players against wicked wizards and magical monsters in order to save favorite Harry Potter characters from the Calamity, an unknown catastrophe that scatters magical artifacts across the globe. Players roam around their real-world environment, tracing patterns on their phones to cast spells. While it never quite reached the same level of success as Pokemon Go, Niantic claims that millions of people across the world have played the game.
There will be multiple in-game events in November and December to wrap up the game’s story arc before it closes down at the end of January. According to a statement on the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite website, there will also be gameplay changes, such as larger awards and more frequent portkeys and other in-game goodies. In-app purchases will be disabled on December 6, although players will be able to play the game until January 31.
Niantic released Pikmin Bloom, a new augmented reality mobile game, in October. Walking, lifelogging memories, and placing flowers are all part of the map-based community game developed in conjunction with Nintendo.
On a gorgeous autumn day, I get a buzz on my watch while sitting in a park near my local coffee shop. My Pikmin has been harmed in some way. I launch the phone app and, with the help of augmented reality, project a few Pikmin onto the table next to my coffee. Recently, Pikmin (tiny, plant-like critters from a long-running Nintendo game series) has been accompanying me on my morning walks. They assist me in planting flowers in the area.
I’m beta-testing Niantic’s Pikmin Bloom, a mobile game developed in conjunction with Nintendo that will begin rolling out this week in Australia and Singapore. It appears to be the philosophical successor to Pokemon Go in several aspects. In other aspects, it’s an entirely other animal.
I had no idea what to anticipate when Niantic revealed their Pikmin game earlier this year. I expected the game to entail cooperative puzzle-solving, similar to the early Nintendo games. Although Pikmin is a lesser-known Nintendo franchise than Pokemon or Mario, the flower-headed forest critters have been present since the GameCube era in 2001. They’re Niantic’s ambassadors for a new form of global, map-based community game that involves strolling, lifelogging memories (something I’ve been thinking about for a while), and placing flowers all over the place, twenty years afterwards.
In a recorded video, Nintendo’s game design genius Shigeru Miyamoto, who created Pikmin in the first place, stated of Pikmin Bloom, “Pikmin are strange animals that live all over our globe and are undetectable to the naked sight. You may now locate them all over the place with Pikmin Bloom and your smartphone.”
In a Zoom meeting with reporters, Niantic CEO John Hanke says, “It’s a smartphone software that’s designed to make your time outside, perhaps your daily walk, more entertaining and pleasurable.” “It’s also made for folks all throughout the world.” In comparison to the company’s other games, such as Pokemon Go, Hanke sees the game’s wide age appeal as another distinguishing aspect “We wanted to make something that would appeal to a wide spectrum of people. We consider appealing to people of various ages, genders, and family configurations, from 8 to 80 years old.”
Pikmin Bloom resembles a gamified fitness experience in many respects. The free-to-play game was created to encourage people to go on walks and explore new areas. It converts your actions into earned prizes, such as Pikmin-sprouting seeds or nectar, which you feed to the Pikmin in order for them to make flower petals for you to gather. In-game coins can also be purchased for extra boosts, similar to how Pokemon Go works.
Madoka Katayama, Niantic’s Tokyo Studio head of UX design, adds, “It’s about collecting, exploring the world, finding flowers, and then being able to gather these different types of colors that you can obtain based on different place types.” However, there will be an emergent element in the game that will be more than that. Pikmin Bloom, like Pokemon Go, employs shared global maps, so flowers from other players can end up being planted in neighboring regions.
According to Niantic, you’ll be able to invite another player to plant flowers with you on occasion, though I haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet. A large flower will occasionally emerge, and groups of people can plant flowers around it, similar to Pokemon Go gyms but more peaceful and collaborative?