Niantic has announced that its augmented reality game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be shutting down early next year, less than two years after it first launched on Android and iOS.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an augmented reality game that was first announced in late 2017 and subsequently launched in the summer of 2019. The game charged players with finding magical items in the real world, similar to how you might try to hunt down and capture Pokemon in Pokemon Go. Unfortunately, it looks like it failed to reach the same level of success as its spiritual predecessor -- Niantic has announced that it's shutting down the Harry Potter AR game early next year.
What is Happening to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?
Niantic has made the announcement that it will be shutting down Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in just a few months -- that means that you only have a short time to enjoy the game before it's gone for good.
"Not all games are meant to last forever," read a post on the Niantic blog. "Our goal with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was to bring the magic of the wizarding world to life for millions of players as they stepped outside and explored their neighborhoods. We accomplished that together, delivering a two-year narrative story arc that will soon complete."
Unfortunately, it's unclear exactly why the Harry Potter AR game is shutting down. Niantic notes that it has other games in the AR space in various degrees of development including Pikmin Bloom and Transformers: Heavy Metal. Considering the bit about the end of a "two-year narrative arc," it's possible that the closure is due to the expiration of a license.
It's probably more likely, however, that the game is closing down due to the knock-on effects of the pandemic. Notably, Mojang's AR game Minecraft Earth closed down earlier this year. That's not a surprise considering the general reluctance of many players to go out of doors in the midst of a pandemic. Adding to this is data from Sensor Tower shared by Giant Bomb's Jeff Grubb on Twitter: Sensor Tower's data says that Pokemon Go brought in $1.1 billion to date in 2021, but the Harry Potter AR game only managed to make $40 million.
Going forward, several changes are coming to the game as noted on the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite website:
- All Daily Assignments will have their rewards increased
- All Potion Brew times will be reduced by 50% with Master Notes
- The daily cap on sending and opening Gifts will be removed
- Barrufio’s Brain Elixir potion will now award 3× player XP
- 1920s Portkey Portmanteaus will appear on the map more frequently and associated Fragment rewards will be doubled
- Spell Energy and Ingredients will appear on the map more frequently
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will shut down on January 31, 2022. In addition to the above changes, you can look forward to several more gameplay events arriving in the last few months of availability as noted in today's announcement. Until then, you can play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite for free on Android and iOS.
Are you disappointed that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is closing down after less than two years of availability? What's your favorite AR mobile game on the market? Let us know in the comments below!