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."