CCP Games is closing two studios and moving away from virtual reality, one of its main focal points for the last few years. The Iceland-based company will close its branch in Atlanta and sell the one in Newcastle as part of a round of layoffs, leaving the studios in London, Reykjavík, and Shanghai. The Iceland Monitor reports that today’s cuts will affect around 100 employees worldwide; CCP says that it’s providing relocation opportunities or severance packages to anyone who’s affected.
CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson calls the changes “tough, but important.” CCP will continue to run its flagship title EVE Online with no changes, and it is continuing with two previously announced projects: a multiplayer PC shooter called Project Nova and a free-to-play mobile game called Project Aurora, which is being developed by external studio PlayRaven. It will also maintain support for its existing VR titles, including the sci-fi sports game Sparc and EVE Valkyrie, which was recently updated to a VR-optional title called EVE Valkyrie – Warzone.
“Despite the success of the VR games we have released we will be shifting our focus to our PC and mobile initiatives,” says Pétursson. “We will continue to support our VR games but will not be making material VR investments until we see market conditions that justify further investments beyond what we have already made.” Pétursson told Iceland Monitor that CCP planned on staying out of VR for the next two to three years.
CCP has made some of the most popular virtual reality games; Pétursson speculated early this year that EVE Gunjack, a VR turret shooter, had set “a record” by selling half a million copies. But the overall market remains too small for large teams to profitably develop for it, so it’s not surprising to see a VR-heavy studio refocus — and, in this case, make big cuts along the way.
Correction: Project Aurora’s developer is PlayRaven, not PlayHaven.