Witches and wizards, it’s time to say goodbye as another Niantic game is on the chopping block…

Only a month after the news of Catan: World Explorers shutting down, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be joining it.

The game will be coming to a close January 31st, 2022. You can read the official announcement here.

Now, let’s take a look back. Does anyone else remember the cool and cryptic trailers they did leading up to the release?

The idea of a Pokémon GO but Harry Potter game was amazing. I remember all the rumours flying around, and all the hype building.

Being able to brew potions and sling spells whilst keeping magic hidden from the Muggle world — it sounded like a dream come true.

The game was amazing back at launch, and whilst it didn’t live up to its potential, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

It is a shame that Niantic and Warner Bros are shutting down the game, instead of reworking it from the ground up.

But I do understand where they’re coming from, it felt like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has struggled with its identity since day one.

Wizards Unite wasn’t sure if it wanted to be a “collect ’em all” game like Pokémon GO, or a full-fledged RPG.

Instead, we got a game which tried to blend a mix of both, and ended up having both features half-baked. The game struggled to find its footing.

I still remember writing my first article on Wizards Unite, and the countless videos I made.

I was even working for a publication creating content and guides on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite at one stage.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will always be important to me, and I’m thankful for the community that built around it.

I met so many amazing friends through the game, and got to share my passion for augmented reality with like-minded people.

Whilst it isn’t surprising to see this game being shut down, it is surprising they didn’t utilise the Harry Potter franchise better.

Art for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Shutting Down

Harry Potter is one of the few billion dollar multimedia franchises, so you’d think marketing would be a breeze.

Whilst we didn’t get any official reasons for why the game shut down, I do think it might have come down to a few points.

The game was never as big as Pokémon GO, and whilst this isn’t an issue in itself — I can’t imagine COVID did it any favours.

The pandemic impacted the augmented reality/geolocation community hard, and even other games such as Minecraft Earth had to shut down.

As mentioned earlier, Wizards Unite also always struggled with forging its own identity, and carving out its own niche in the market.

It wasn’t different enough to set itself aside from Pokémon GO, and unfortunately, both games directly competed.

It was hard to juggle both games at once, players needed to choose between either Wizards Unite or Pokémon.

Whilst it’s sad to see Wizards Unite go, atleast it won’t be long until the world of video games is filled with magic once again.

There’s still Hogwarts Legacy coming out next year! We’ll get the chance to experience the Wizarding World in an immersive, open-world RPG.

It’ll be interesting to see what this means for Niantic as a whole. Out of the 6 games that we know about, 2 of them have already been shut down.

Whilst I have high hopes for Niantic’s Pikmin Bloom, as you can see in my recent review, how will Transformers: Heavy Metal fare?

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By Camellia Hao Ren

Camellia Hao Ren is an Australian journalist and editor. When they aren't writing, they are usually playing games or reading.

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