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Viacom Next VR/AR studio shuts down

Developer of Smash Party and Transformers: Cade's Junkyard axed as part of larger layoffs at Viacom

Viacom Next has folded. As reported by Variety, the virtual reality and augmented reality studio was closed this week as part of a wider round of layoffs for Viacom.

A spokesperson told the site that some Viacom Next employees were let go, while others will be moved elsewhere within the company. Additionally, the spokesperson said the closure should not be seen as a referendum on VR and AR themselves.

"We remain deeply committed to developing immersive experiences for consumers through groundbreaking augmented and virtual reality," the representative said. "As part of our efforts to coordinate Viacom's approach to next-generation platforms and solutions across our brands, we are absorbing Viacom Next into our Global Emerging Opportunities Group. A number of Viacom Next's creators and engineers will join this group, however a small number of employee positions have been affected. We appreciate these colleagues' contributions and are making every effort to assist them through benefits and support, including severance and outplacement assistance."

Viacom Next was formed in 2016 to explore the potential of AR and VR. The team consisted of more than a dozen people, and produced a variety of experiences using the tech, from games like the augmented reality mobile offering Transformers: Cade's Junkyard to music videos like Billy Corgan's "Aeronaut." Last year it released two HTC Vive projects on Steam, Hot Sugar's VR musical album The Melody of Dust and the party game Smash Party, which debuted in Early Access in mid-December.

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Latest comments (2)

Laura MacDonald Game Designer/Consultant/narrative designer/Writer 3 months ago
This advice is a surprise primarily because the term of art "marketing" has become interchangeable if not a replacement for another term of art "PR".

Marketing is more than selling - it is identifying markets and creating sales tactics that target specific markets. The research portion of marketing has been long lost in terms of the gaming business particularly for indie and smaller developers, even seemingly some large outfits. The three basics are in shorthand: ID what specific market you are selling to or what markets similar products/games have sold to - ID what market you should be able to sell your game/product to but they have been missed, and last see what target markets you might be able to reach in a creative stretch. Then devise your selling campaign accordingly. In a cost effective manner, meaning don;t break the marketing budget to reach the unreachable. Basic marketing 101 going back decades.

A good example of using traditional marketing concepts to broaden a market for a game, was 11 years ago a game with a photo based exploration story game had an article about it accepted in all the inflight magazines on an international carrier. Sales did increase beyond expectations. Such tie ins work across a lot of games. Whether the medium is hard print, snap chat, Instagram etc.
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James Batchelor UK Editor, GamesIndustry.biz3 months ago
@Laura MacDonald: Hi Laura, thanks so much for your feedback, but I think you may have commented on the wrong article. Was this a response to our interview with GameInfluencer?
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