Mobile sports game developer Nifty to close after five years

The announcement was made in a LinkedIn post by CEO Jon Middleton

Mobile sports game developer Nifty to close after five years

Nifty Games, most well-known for their American Football title NFL Clash, will shut their doors after five years according to CEO John Middleton.

In a post on LinkedIn, Middleton penned an open letter announcing the studio’s closure. In it he stated, “We take a lot of pride that Nifty Games efforts achieved the products we set out to deliver … world class free-to-play games with two of the most iconic sports brands in the world.”

“However, NFL Clash and NBA Clash, while widely well reviewed, couldn’t deliver the commercial results we needed as an independent developer and publisher. There’s been significant changes in the mobile market that had an adverse effect, and ultimately forced us to downsize over the past year, sunset our games and now move towards closure of the company.”

Middleton’s announcement comes abruptly, after Nifty received a $38m investment in a series B funding round as recently as 2021. However, it is perhaps indicative of the difficult time independent studios such as Nifty face on the mobile platform.

Nifty’s games, including NFL Clash and NBA Clash, will no longer be available to download. However, they have stated that NBA Clash will remain playable to those who have downloaded it for an as-yet-unspecified period of time.

Didn’t make the playoffs

Nifty’s shutdown is unexpected but does offer an insight into the currently tough climate for many independent studios on mobile and elsewhere in the gaming landscape. With the company as recently as January of 2022 adding new management team members and shuffling company leadership, it seems that, as Middleton indicates in his post, that the team was still very much active.

It’s a stark reminder that for smaller companies, even securing major licences for brands such as the NFL isn’t always enough to help with the difficulty of surviving in the harsh world of mobile gaming.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.