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Pokemon Go Current Niantic Employee Reveals What Is it Like to Work at Niantic, Says Product Managers are Supposed to Please and Serve Engineers

Trainers, last year we published an article about a former Niantic employee and what is like to work at Niantic. They weren’t satisfied (that’s why they are former employees), and the story reached out to many people. The person explained they got punished by echoing Pokemon Go players’ complaints.

Today, we discovered a new story, but this time it comes from a current Niantic employee. The thread was posted on April 28, 2023, by a current Niantic employee, under Senior Product Manager on Glassdoor. The title says “No Leadership,” so you already have an idea where this is going. The person shared pros and cons, and the funny thing is they said only two positive things about Niantic.

Most of the things written explain a lot about the current situation. The person says the current PMs are the “weak ones” who please and serve engineers. He reveals that “decisions are always prioritized by how much engineers like about doing them, how much VP engineering likes about them, and how much the CEO favors them.”

According to the current Niantic employee, the CEO doesn’t use external vendors, doesn’t like sharing data with anyone, and doesn’t like people to stay at home playing Pokemon Go.

Here is what the person has to say about the current situation at Niantic and what is like working in that environment. This was posted on Glassdoor. Please note that you must add a review or compensation to see the review.

“No Leadership


  • Individual contributors are good at executions
  • Engineers individually have a decent tech background


Leadershipis a joke. Mid-management is an epic joke. Let’s be clear. This company does not have a northstar. Al they know is they want to use AR and geolocation to do something cool. They focus on solutions instead of purposes. Mid-management, especially tech lead managers and recently promoted engineering directors are junior people who are not supposed to be managers. This company has a ridiculous bias toward engineering. | was once told by the now head of Pokemon GO (eng) that product managers are supposed to please and serve engineers. This perfectly summarizes why Niantic is still in such a mess today. The product managers who still linger today are the weak ones who please engineers well – the strong ones all left. Decisions are always prioritized by how much engineers like ‘about doing them, how much VP engineering likes about them, and how much our CEO favors them. Our CEO has a very unique taste – he doesn’t like to use external vendors, he doesn’t like sharing data with rest of the company, and he doesn’t like people to stay at home playing his game. Our CPO could not be weaker – a typical Japanese elite who cares so much about hierarchy, seniority, shiny titles, and
harmony with his boss. He literally doesn’t make any decisions. Our team of PMs, although most come with shiny backgrounds, are just minions and servers for the eng teams. We never talk about impact, never talk about how much money this feature will make for the company. We always talk about constraints about privacy, about GMT, about the release schedule, and about getting the checklists done. This is not how a mature and productive product management workforce is supposed to work. Engineers take all the control, but engineering leads are myopic. Principal architect from Google would brag about his olden days all the time. He would speak of database columns he changed so that we pay less money to GCP. Engleads would over-engineer their small products so much, but never listen to product advices. There is no speaking of impact, no speaking of making money for the company, no speaking of the next level up beyond the pathetic AR and geolocation. If you are a PM, don’t come to this place.”

Now we know why they don’t listen to us.

What are your thoughts about this? We would like to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

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Dejan Kacurov

Hi, gamers! You can call me Mr. DComplex. I'm a gamer, a hardcore gamer. My favorite genres are Action RPG and MMORPG. At the moment I'm using my PC as my only gaming platform, but soon I might get a new PS4 from Angel. Update - Angel did get me a PS4, oh wait, it's the PS4 PRO 1TB!!! Much love bro!


  1. The CEO is right. PoGo shouldn’t be a game to be played from at home. It was designed as a realworld game and remote passes were introduced only because of COVID. There are hundreds of games that can be played from at home with a virtual community. Anyone who likes to play one or work with a company which produces one, can choose which to take. So why do this people so much oppose against PoGo as a realworld multiplayer game – the only one on the market? PoGo doesn’t need remote passes, but challenging new local multiplayer content to find a new sociable community.

    1. While I agree with you re. not playing at home, I am finding myself spending less time outside because of the remote raid changes.
      Even with my twin brother, Griffin, sending out 10 invites generally does not attract enough trainers to do 5 star raids.
      So now, 8 generally only bother going out when a new and desirable boss raid begins.

    2. The game shouldn’t be accessible to people who are too busy to stand around in a park for a raid where nobody else comes? Or disabled folk? They have made shoddy after shoddy decision and it has accelerated the game’s decline in the past 6 months. Issue after issue, anti-accessible updates and not listening to players. Recipe for a declining player base like now.

    3. Some people are homebound, either by disability or other circumstances. Others are rural players, with no gyms anywhere nearby, or even convenient poke stops, for that matter. These are both excellent reasons to have remote raid passes, because disabled folks and rural folks should be able to play, too. It doesn’t stop others from going out to play the game how they want to at all.

      1. There’s 1 stereo typical trait with an elitist Asian. They will go to their grave to save face. In other words stubborn. The leaders will run POGO into the ground just because they are to proud and arrogant to do it any other way than their own.

    4. Very shortsighted take. Remote raids have always been a win-win situation since they were introduced. This game peaked (in both quality and revenue) thanks to the changes introduced for the pandemic and for the first time even rural players could honestly join the global community. This game is 7 years old now. There’s no reviving local communities anymore by pushing on in person raids outside big cities and long term players are leaving because of the wild monetization of events, rising prices and the scummy ways they lock new mons/shinies behind lootbooxes with impossible chances. They just keep taking good things away without giving anything substantial in return. Stick with no carrot. This game is dying thanks to the company’s deluded CEO.

  2. Based on context clues this employee is A product manager on the Lightship team and the CPO he reports to is Hua Ye.

    This begs a number of questions but principally, how much does this even apply to Pokemon GO? The only explicit mention of Niantic’s games devision at all, is one of John Hanke’s well-advertised priorities.

    The other two examples of Hanke’s “unique taste” lack enough context to pass judgement. Without understanding the reason, it is hard to judge how valid these criticisms are.

    And again not knowing the context it could just as easily be interpreted that this PM wants to boss his team around and he’s being asked to take a more cooperative leadership approach, which he considers “weak”

    They say leadership lacks direction and then turns around and criticises corporate goals. He argues they need to move more resources towards whatever comes next; when the product his team is working on now hasn’t even reached maturity yet. Why is he even on the Lightship team if he thinks AR and geolocation is “pathetic”

    I don’t think we have enough info one way it another, to say we know why anything

  3. Passports would be cool… I would spend $5 or so to be able to play in Japan or Australia for 30 minutes. The passport could be linked to a remote raid pass or a postcard from an ultra friend. After invited to a remote raid you could be given the option to use a passport and then be teleported to the gym that the raid took place. A joystick function could allow you to wonder, explore and catch Pokémon, especially the regional Pokémon that those of us who cannot afford to travel the world cannot get. I think this function would also be well recieved by rural players.

  4. Isn’t P-Go about data collection from players? All these photos Niantic prods players take and GPS data from them are worth a lot. Perhaps the slackness of game design and play are moot points. The other goal of selling data is being accomplished? Perhaps the engineers get the front seat over other workers kept in the dark because of a side business of selling data.

  5. I feel bad for the employee that wrote this. i feel like they are just looking for actual change in their work environment. For them to reach out publicly has to say that it’s pretty messed up there because clearly there’s some hierarchy here and favoritism. Maybe said employee has ideas on how to make the system run smoother or better based off of players complaints and just seeing how the ins and outs of the game work. I love this game I play Everyday I hate that the remote raid passes have gone down to a three remote raids a day that’s kind of lame especially cuz there are people that live in rural areas that do not have gyms close by and you have to be at a certain level to even promote a place to be a gym which sucks because you can’t level up faster if you don’t do raids but you can’t do any raids if you don’t have any gyms. Double edge sword but it only takes one voice to plant the seed of thought into other people’s heads of like hey maybe this way isn’t working maybe we should try something different. I don’t know just my thoughts

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