Niantic closes its AR Catan game after a year of early access

pokemon go developer Niantic stops augmented reality game Catan: World Explorers, the company announced Friday (through protocol). An AR adaptation of the popular board game Catania announced in 2019, world explorers was the company’s latest attempt to unleash the magic of pokemon go, but it soon comes to an end.

After a year of early access, the game will be unplayable after November 18, with Niantic saying later today that it will “remove the game from the App Store and remove real money purchases from the store.” For the players who stay, the company says it will increase in-game bonuses for the remaining weeks the game is live.

It’s not entirely clear what caused the shutdown, though the developers say adjusting trading, harvesting and building Catania is known for on a real-life (or at least AR layered on top of real-life) game board proved to be a challenge. “We’ve gotten a bit too complicated and a bit too far from the original Catania game,” the developers write.

Catan: World Explorers joins Minecraft Earth as another Niantic modification that couldn’t quite make it work. The company’s vision on Minecraft was equally ambitious until it was brought to an end on June 30. It’s a shame that Niantic’s big swings failed, as the other entries in our experience have proved disappointing. At launch, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite felt more like a skin of pokemon go than a meaningful evolution. There’s no reason Pokémon should be the exclusive breakthrough hit for AR gaming, but until Niantic or some other company can make it work, it looks like Pikachu will remain king.