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When Pokemon Go and the Harry Potter universe were at the height of their power, Niantic partnered with Warner Bros. to create Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Much like its previous game, Niantic’s Harry Potter game saw players engaging with their surroundings by heading out on walks to take on fantastic beasts and confounded items.

The problem was, it was basically the same as Pokemon Go, and those players weren’t moving on for a clone set in the Harry Potter universe. According to Niantic CEO John Hanke, it wasn’t a case of market saturation, however – it just wasn’t a good enough game.

“I think it's probably like any other genre of games, where you have to make a great game,” Hanke told us. “I don't think the audience will tolerate a mediocre game. There are so many choices, so many great games getting made. There's amazing stuff out there competing for people's time.

“[The Harry Potter Game] had an audience and we were able to bring it to a nice conclusion for the audience – we were able to bring the story and the narrative to a close. I felt that was better than having it drag without closure. It had a story arc that it needed to finish.

“It was a joint project between ourselves and Warner Bros. so it wasn't the easiest project to manage. Two companies working together on a project is a challenge to manage over time, and people change and people have different priorities. We probably won’t do that again. [We will] build our games fully ourselves, and publish them completely independently.”

Niantic’s Pokemon Go still shows no signs of slowing down, and the company is on the verge of releasing NBA All-World, its geolocation-based basketball game. There’s also a Marvel game and an AR pet game coming at some point in the future. 

If you want to know more about Niantic, you can read our full interview with John Hanke