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Job losses at Sony London as first VR project wraps up

Compulsory redundancies means risk of "losing high calibre staff"

Sony has confirmed to GamesIndustry.Biz that there will be job losses at its London Studio as the team's first VR projects draw to a close.

After hearing that some senior software staff had taken redundancy, followed by compulsory redundancy for team members, we contacted Sony for confirmation. The reply indicates that the shrinkage is part of team downsizing at the end of a production cycle, rather than any backpedaling on the publisher's commitment to VR.

"Regular reviews take place throughout SIE Worldwide Studios, ensuring that the resources that we have in such a competitive landscape deliver on our strategic objectives in the best way possible," the statement reads.

Most recently, the team at London Studio had been working on PSVR exclusive London Heist, an extension of a previous demo intended to showcase the capability of the Sony HMD. Previously it had produced a number of other relatively experimental projects, including Wonderbook, The Playroom, Singstar, The Deep and R&D for the EyeToy. Whilst the job losses are understood to be relatively substantial, Sony says that the work in progress at the studio will continue.

"If appropriate opportunities are not possible within the company, we will assist staff in any way we can, including speaking with local employers and with other Development companies."

"London Studio have done a great job in leading the way in VR development, and as their first project nears completion it is time to plan for the next VR project. The team will take all their learnings and experience as they move forward, however in order to achieve its ambitious goals, the Studio will need to restructure around the needs of the new projects.

"Unfortunately, there will be a number of compulsory redundancies within the London Studio. We accept that this will mean that we risk losing high calibre staff whose projects have reached completion and where possible, we will try to reallocate people to new projects currently being nurtured.

"If appropriate opportunities are not possible within the company, we will assist staff in any way we can, including speaking with local employers and with other Development companies.

"The London Studio has been an important part of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios for over 15 years, and will continue to deliver ground breaking work and innovative titles."

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Latest comments (5)

Well getting let go is never easy, but if youre letting highly trained VR specialist go, the rest of the industry thanks you as Im sure these people will be gobbled up by competitors in no time flat. Wow, it never ceases to amaze me that these large corps dont understand that skilled employees are the greatest asset a company can have.

Short term thinking,and the constant min maxing of short term financials, 21st corporations are all just slowly killing themselves.
This idea that a business main goal needs to be maximizing shareholder profits truly is the "world's dumbest idea'.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 14th September 2016 5:11pm

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Robert Bantin Principal Programmer, CodemastersA year ago
As I often tell people, IP lives in the heads of the people that created it. Let them leave and your IP will leak out. Let them all go and you've got nothing but a snapshot.

Epic fail on Sony's part. Oh well, more talented people for the rest of us, and we won't have to train them up first. Bonus.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Robert Bantin on 14th September 2016 9:01pm

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John Pickford Owner, Zee 3A year ago
Not a great vote of confidence in their own VR tech.
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Show all comments (5)
It is fascinating to see Sony do this again and again, they let go their lifeblood of R&D talent, and then a matter of months later the SCE Board will complain that they do not have a strong enough development resource and have to close down a division.

It was the sacking of the HMZ team that saw the failure to establish a correct response to the re-emergence of VR. And now we see a thinly vailed distrust to allow the UK to define the new VR strategy, so they force resignation and departures, just to be able to grab control to Japan.

Well, Sony's loss is the VR industries gain - and if the rumors are true that most of the VR skill set from Sony is being hired by Microsoft - then the more the better (least they won’t be wasted).
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Richard Pygott Level Designer A year ago
People are the greatest asset to any company, in fact the people are the company! This seems to be something that escapes most peoples thinking. When people speak of companies like Rare and how they have fallen since their heyday of Nintendo 64 releases, all you have to do is look at the people that worked for Rare then and compare it to now.

I am sure that these VR specialists will find work pretty quickly, especially considering the rise of VR. But its always a shame that companies bleed talent purely from a spreadsheet perspective.
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