In what could be considered a big blow to the VR games space today, EVE Online studio CCP has announced a restructuring of its studios worldwide to effectively eliminate its participation in any further VR games development.
In a statement sent to GamesIndustry.biz, the company explained, "CCP Games is restructuring its studio locations worldwide, driven primarily by reduced investments in virtual reality and an increased focus on PC and mobile games. This has resulted in a reorganization and centralization of its five studios across the world to three in Reykjavík, Shanghai, and London.
"In the coming weeks, CCP will undertake the following proposed measures: The closure of its Atlanta studio with VR development moved to London, the sale of its Newcastle studio, and the elimination of a number of positions worldwide. The company´s Shanghai studio will be reduced and refocused to support growing business in China through local partnerships. CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for all those affected.
"There are no changes to ongoing plans for EVE Online and the company´s product pipeline is strong. In early October CCP confirmed continued development of its PC FPS game, 'Project Nova' and announced a new mobile game, 'Project Aurora,' both set in the EVE Universe. Both projects are on track and unaffected by these changes. CCP will announce additional game releases directly or through partnerships over the next 18 months across PC and mobile."
According to Icelandic business publication mbl.is, around 100 people will be affected by CCP's decision to exit VR development. The Atlanta studio had been working on PSVR title Sparc, a dodgeball-like game set in a futuristic environment. CCP, of course, is best known in the VR space for its EVE Valkyrie project, and its spin-off on mobile VR platforms, Gunjack. Despite leading in the VR space, CCP apparently felt it was in the best interest for the company to no longer invest as much into VR - a space that continues to see slower adoption than many would like.
CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson commented, "Today we have made tough, but important, changes to CCP in response to how we see the gaming market evolving in the coming years. We have been front and center in the second wave of VR and our belief in the long-term transformative power of the technology remains strong.
"Despite the success of the VR games we have released we will be shifting our focus to our PC and mobile initiatives, and will be centralizing those initiatives, along with the support of our existing VR games, to our offices in Reykjavík and London. 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."
He adds, "I am very proud of our VR games and, more importantly, of the people here who made them. These changes in strategy come with some tough decisions relating to our overall structure as a company. CCP is in a strong position to make these changes, and we are taking great care to support our departing employees to the very best of our ability. We will be offering relocations to some to our London office where we will be building up our efforts in addition to our development activities in Reykjavík."
Earlier this year, Pétursson sounded hugely optimistic about the VR space. He noted that even with a small installed base overall, developers can make money, just as companies can make money selling something only to Icelanders. "I would call the installed base huge for an Icelander," he said in March. "It's triple my home country. And people make all sorts of products for Icelanders. We have three TV stations in Icelandic for 300,000 people but we have a million VR players; that's amazing."