Controversial Avatar Changes in Pokémon GO Lead to Layoffs at Development Studio

Controversial Avatar Changes in Pokémon GO Lead to Layoffs at Development Studio

3. May 2024 by Never

In the wake of ongoing criticism from Pokémon GO players over recent avatar updates, Seattle-based development studio Very Very Spaceship, known for its work on key features for the game, has reportedly undergone significant layoffs.

Avatar Update Backlash

Players of Pokémon GO have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with recent changes to the game’s avatar customization options. Despite widespread community feedback, the controversial updates introduced by Very Very Spaceship have remained unchanged, further exacerbating tensions within the player base.

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Layoffs at Very Very Spaceship

According to reports from Game Developer, an undisclosed number of employees at Very Very Spaceship, including producers, recruiters, and artists—such as lead 3D Character Artist Kelsey Martin—were let go on May 1. Martin, who contributed extensively to the Pokémon GO character update,


Emphasized the team’s efforts to enhance inclusivity and expression for players but expressed excitement for future endeavors following the layoffs.

Community Response and Niantic’s Silence

The layoffs have sparked sympathy from Pokémon GO players, despite ongoing dissatisfaction with the avatar changes. Questions remain regarding management decisions to prioritize the controversial update despite negative feedback from players.

Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon GO, has yet to publicly address the situation or provide insights into future updates to address player concerns. The lack of communication from Niantic amidst the ongoing backlash has only added to the frustration within the Pokémon GO community.

Uncertain Future for Avatar Changes: Fallout from Very Very Spaceship Layoffs Highlights Game Development Challenges

While the fate of the avatar changes and potential updates remains uncertain, the fallout from the layoffs at Very Very Spaceship underscores the challenges faced by game developers in balancing player expectations with corporate decisions.