CCP Games ceases VR development, closes two studios – no negative impact on EVE Online

Icelandic business website mbl.is has just reported that EVE Online developer CCP Games is planning to close two of its offices and cease all VR game development. The move affects over 100 staff worldwide, with the Atlanta office in the United States being closed and the Newcastle studio being sold off. The Newcastle office was the development house responsible for the VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie, which released as a bundled launch title for the Oculus Rift and has since been released on PlayStation VR and as a non-VR PC title.

The move will see CCP pull out of the VR market for the time being, focusing instead on PC and mobile development. The studio secured a $30 million US investment specifically for VR games back in 2015, and CEO Hilmar Pétursson revealed back in March of this year that the company had only recently broken even on that investment. Despite having some success with Valkyrie, Gunjack, and its recently released VR sports title Sparc, CCP acknowledged the limited opportunities and growth it sees in VR as a platform over the next several years.

Though around 30 staff in the Iceland office are being laid off, EVE Online’s Community Manager told players today that the game has not been affected by those layoffs:

“With regard to EVE, it’s kind of bittersweet that this puts us in a more solid position going forward, as a lot more focus is back on EVE Online, its services and all the technology and support around it.

“The EVE Online development team was not impacted at all by these changes, and remains the same size, working toward the same goals and features that have already been announced.

“We still have very big plans for EVE Online, and everything we’ve announced, plus more, is still going ahead, so there shouldn’t be any concerns from our pilots in that respect.”

Source: mbl.is via Reddit
Update: We’ve since received confirmation that the vast majority of EVE’s community team has been laid off. We’ll have more in the coming days.
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73 Comments on "CCP Games ceases VR development, closes two studios – no negative impact on EVE Online"

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First of all. I am firmly in the corner of “VR is not ready for prime time yet” for that matter. AR isn’t either. So now you know where I stand.

This was one of the most hotly anticipated launch titles for the first string of VR headsets. It has barely managed to break even. There has been a small handful of titles worth looking at and most of those can’t even register as a blip on any sales charts.

Sales for all of the major VR headsets are not where investors want them to be and now we are seeing more and more articles like this one…

This VR cycle is dead

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Sally Bowls

completely baseless speculation:

So if Plan A was to jump big into VR, take some VC money to do VR, slap some lipstick on the pig and sell it on the street corner.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-09/eve-online-owners-said-to-weigh-game-maker-sale-after-approaches

If the owners could have dumped CCP for anywhere near a billion and turned it down then IMO their greed exceeded their wisdom.

Then is plan B to get rid of all the wasted money on development, make EVE a non-growth cash-cow and sell that to someone???

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-05-17/why-did-a-chinese-peroxide-company-pay-1-billion-for-a-talking-cat

I mean you have some VC that can’t be happy at the moment after spending $30 and having it fail and two of the VCs are/were on the CCP Board of Directors. VCs invest for huge returns and tend to quickly lose interest in non-growth businesses. When do the VCs decide it is time to cash out?

—–

Kind of surprised this happened later in the month of EVE Vegas. If you have a public event, your second largest of the year, in early October with Valkyrie tournaments and VR discussions and presentations about futures and integration with EVE. Later in the month, it is very dead. What happened? It seems quite sudden. Did a mid-October board meeting about Q3 get dramatic? IDK. It could be mundane business as usual but I wonder if there is an interesting story there.

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John Mclain

Never got to try valkyrie in VR, but I did try it on the non-vr version, and it was complete and utter crap. No tears will be shed here.

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Lateris Ablon

I play VR Eve Valkyrie and the VR version is so much better. Essentially a game I loved will probably close down. Yet another Hilster error.

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Armsman

Well, lets be honest – this ain’t the first time CCP has blown say $20-$30 million on something and then canned it. Seems top be SOP for them the last few years. ;)

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Danny Smith

We’ve already seen devs patch vr out of games and make them traditional first person games. Its possible the VR meme is running out of steam with no huge interest in the mainstream consumer. Wouldn’t be the first time. Remember when all the early adopters were telling us how “3D gaming on 3DTV’s is the future?” and the same thing happened. Big names wont develop for just a fraction of their audience so it drowns in shovelware and dies.
VR has lots of applications but in its current states core audience or AAA gaming is never going to happen in significant numbers that the big names need to care about.

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Sally Bowls

Remember VR gaming is not all of VR.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/11/16459636/mark-zuckerberg-oculus-rift-connect

IMO, FB did not spend $3B for VR just for gaming. If we get “a billion” VR devices, then there may be hope for someone making software to use them for gaming.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/charliefink/2017/10/09/a-few-good-apps-wont-save-apple-ar-the-future-will

So my WAG is xR starting to really get traction in ’20-21 and perhaps we could have an MMO by middle of next decade.

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Sray

Zuckerberg has said on a few occassions that he sees VR as a communications tool more than as the gaming platform it was sold as (in the Kickstarter). If companies like HTC and Oculus focus on the commercial and industrial markets (where the real money is anyway) over the next few years to mature the technology, I feel like that’s fairly accurate projection for mainstream adoption. I feel it will remain something of a niche tech still for some years to come even after “mainstream acceptance”, but not an uncommon part of a gaming enthusiast’s home set up. I can foresee it being something like reel to reel audio tape decks circa the late 1950s to the late 1960s were for home entertainment aficionados of the era: not common in all households, but hardly a rarity either.

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Arktouros

It’s actually been very interesting to see how little Oculus seems to be interested in the commercial markets compared to HTC. I haven’t been able to find a single Commercial thing for the Oculus and all the arcades/etc all seems to be towards the Vive instead.

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Sally Bowls

I guess I can rationalize that after the fact. FaceBook does not overly need a few million in arcade revenue. They want better ways to sell ads to their two billion users.

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Arktouros

Well it’s not just arcades, it’s literally everything commercial. That’s school money, business money, doctor money, etc. But I suppose when I think about it, it is in line with their seemingly race to the bottom strategy.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Funny how niche low budget VR spacesim flopped and everyone jumps into VR is dead bandwagon

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Arktouros

I love these threads here, I really do.

You got the people who unless VR requires no headset, no wires, has perfect graphics, and takes up no room while giving them the freedom to do whatever they want and if they price is anything over $50 then it’s just a fad.

Then you got the Morbo crowd who the second there’s any signs of anything that could be determined as failure they trot out their 3D TV memes and and just a fad nonsense despite all the actual companies producing VR hardware pretty much all saying things are going great and they are ahead of their predictions.

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Terren Bruce

Yeaaaaah… I said this would happen when they got the investment money for VR, and was shouted down here for it by VR fanboys. It’s perfectly obvious that VR is a fad to anyone who doesn’t willfully blind themselves.

“Let’s look like an idiot wearing VR goggles, get motion sickness, and play a game that we’d never give the time of day if it wasn’t VR. Yay!” You can’t sell $400+ peripherals to play tech demos. It doesn’t work.

I’m not saying the tech will never be there to make it work, I’m just saying it’s not happening within the next 10 years.

budtoker420
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budtoker420

VR will continue to be a fad as long as it requires goofy helmets with wires attached. Even 3D TV didn’t pan out and all that required were glasses.

I played around with Samsung Gear VR and as cool as it was it still felt like a gimmick and not something that would keep me coming back especially with so many other things competing for my attention.

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Chosenxeno .

VR isn’t a fad. It was just never going to be ultra-mainstream. I bought my Vive knowing that. I was also a huge fan of 3D gaming. The only people I am scared for are the console VR fans. VR( just like 3D) will live on for PC with or without Big Devs. Just like 3D did. That’s what makes the platform great. You should be uplifting the platform instead of trying to garner a “I told you so” that to be honest, doesn’t exist. The majority of VR users know that the “big boys” won’t be the ones to keep VR relevant and that the pricing made it niche from the get go.

P.S. A Samsung gear is what I have always called “Virtual Vision”. If it’s not Room Scale it’s not VR to me. In fact, you brought something to life that I said on Upload VR a year ago(or PC gamer don’t remember lol). I Said that mobile VR could hurt real VR like Oculus and Vive. Looks like I’m getting an actual “I told you so” but not one that I’m happy about:(

Mobile VR should not be called VR.

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zeko_rena

I am glad they at least gave it a go.
It is a real shame so many people are out of the job though, I hope they all land on there feet with exciting new opportunities

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Darthbawl

Never been on the VR bandwagon myself.

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Tobasco da Gama

I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop. Sorry to all the suckers early adopters out there.

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Arktouros

Yes because one shitty game company producing extremely shitty games is the shoe dropping.

Meanwhile the new PiMax headset with vast improvements over the first generation of VR has to keep creating stretch goals because people are up to throwing millions of dollars at them.

Other shoe indeed.

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Loopy

.

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Tobasco da Gama

It’s not about what people like or don’t like. It’s about people paying to be guinea pigs.

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zeko_rena

Bet you are great fun at parties

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Tobasco da Gama

I am, actually!

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Alex Js.

That’s a shame, EVE is kind of ideal game for current generation of VR since your in-game character is basically “sitting” in a fixed position. Would’ve been great if they’d try to expand that part, same goes for in-station walking (which could’ve been gradually expanded from “3D chat” to some FPS part, all within a single game).

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Dividion

I’d have to argue that. VR is not friendly to small fonts, and to be good at EVE, you really want the maximum amount of information available on-screen. It really is a giant spreadsheet sometimes. VR shines for flight sims, so in the regard that you’re always sitting in your ship it does indeed sound like a good candidate, but EVE is not fly-by-wire. The only thing that seems like it would map well is the throttle.

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Arktouros

This is really UI design and they’d basically have to dedicate a whole team to redesigning the whole UI from the ground up to work in VR.

Like if I had to design the VR interface for EVE I’d probably put the left side interface as a pop up/twistable menu (similar to Tilt Brush) to bring up the menus, and then have the ability to bring up menus as a large interface in front of you. You would just be kinda there floating in space in the middle (so you could play seated or standing) then. The nice thing with Virtual Interfaces is they can literally be as big or little as you want and having text the size of your head is certainly going to be readable.

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Dividion

That makes me think of a 360-degree Minority Report interface. Interesting. In E:D it gives you different menus when you look left or right, so extending everything to the periphery makes sense. There’s just so much info in EVE that they’d need to come up with a design that gives you all of the critical stuff (lock targets, activate weapons, set range and speed, control drones, etc) in a way that’s comparable in speed to point and click with a mouse.

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Arktouros

Probably the best way I’ve come up to describe how interfaces in VR can be designed and work is you have to do a two step transition.

First step is imagining your interface is touch screen interface. So get rid of the mouse, your hands and fingers are now the mouse. If you want to type you’ll type “2 finger” style into a keyboard interface when it pops up. How would you play the game with a touch interface like that? Point here, point there, drag fingers similar to a tablet/smart phone style.

Second step is now imagine that touch interface is all around you and you can create any interface you want in a 3D environment. So you can take that menu bar you had on the left in a 2D environment and now make that a static menu attached to the controller “around” your wrist like a Pip Boy from Fallout. Targets could appear at the top of your vision and you can simply reach up and click on a different button to bring up the menu to choose action or have default buttons to default things (approach, orbit, etc at default distances). Modules are a simple interface in front of you that you can simply reach out and tick on.

You have to completely redesign the interface from scratch, but parity and even enhancement is more than capable. What was disappointing in titles like Valkyrie is they didn’t even bother trying any of this. It was simply default to a controller because that’s what PS4 has and that’s what Oculus had at it’s launch. Meanwhile you have other VR games such as being in a submarine where you have to literally turn valves and cranks to operate the submarine rather than simply hold down < on a game pad and go left.

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Arktouros

This a great move for them as a company because as a company they produced absolutely shit tier VR games that you literally couldn’t pay me to play as a VR owner.

As a company they wanted to make safe bets. Safe bets meant producing the exact same game everyone else was producing and expect the results you get out of established platforms. But VR isn’t an established platforms as much as SOME companies want to claim.

VR is at the early tech stages and we don’t even have good VR tech yet. We’re not even looking at the second generation headsets and the new PiMax headset is already offering massive field of view upgrades and visual quality upgrades. VR is still at that, “Wow what is that even good for? I can do all that anyways. Enjoy your thousand dollar recipe book!” stage and anyone who tells you otherwise is simply trying to sell you one.

Good VR is about pushing new experiences. CCP games were not good VR experiences. When you read the meme about VR being the next 3D TVs it’s experiences that CCP was delivering with it’s games that would make that meme a reality.

TophatKiyaki
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TophatKiyaki

So what does this mean for Valkyrie? It removed the VR requirement recently, probably in anticipation for this. Does that mean that development on it will continue? Perhaps it was a spike in the playerbase of Valkyrie after the VR requirement was dropped that led to this?

I’m yet to actually try the game myself, but it always looked decently cool. It would certainly suck if it went the way of DUST.

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Armsbend

“Though around 30 staff in the Iceland office are being laid off”

That’s like 6% of the country being laid off right?

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cista2bpo

Reminds me… (Iceland knocked out England in the Euros and are now at World Champs, the smallest nation ever to qualify)
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zeko_rena

I think the total pop is about 300k, one of the main reasons I find myself drawn to Iceland, that and I like the landscape, ah dreams are free

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Armsbend

It is on my top ten list of places to visit. I want to see the Borealis for the first time in glorious style in the land of ice and snow.

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johnwillo

Don’t joke. Unemployed Icelanders go a-viking.

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Greaterdivinity

Unsurprisingly, betting on VR right now isn’t a very great bet, at least if you want to try to make any decent spends against it expecting a return.

Kinda sad to see, I still need to try Valkyrie at some point but just haven’t had the chance (no compatible hardware).

Kinda sad to see yet another non-EVE venture from CCP end up closing down, though. I’m hoping the Dust release on PC actually manages to find some success whenever it ends up coming out, that one has been pretty quiet for a while.

TophatKiyaki
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TophatKiyaki

Valkyrie removed the VR requirement recently, which was probably a tell sign this was going to happen. If you actually want to try it now all you need is a PC.

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Armsbend

The first one to make a good game out of it though will be rich. It might be worth the risk.

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Greaterdivinity

There are a few pretty good games out there by all accounts, it’s just that there’s nowhere near enough hardware out there to become “rich” compared to non-VR games.

If you want to hit that level of units you’d need to release on Gear VR, because that’s the only kit with million of confirmed units in consumer hands. But then you’re on Gear VR, and that’s a lot of fucking lol (potato quality, wouldn’t be surprised if most are sitting on a shelf unused like mine).

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Armsbend

I was thinking of all the junk that was early to market on the Kinect but ended up selling a million units simply because there wasn’t anything else to buy – and being of far lower quality than your average AAA game.

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Schmidt.Capela

For a while Kinect was bundled with the XBox One, guaranteeing a large install base. Larger than for any computer- or videogame-based VR system.

(BTW, Microsoft has discontinued production of Kinect, so I’m not sure it’s the best example.)

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Armsbend

I bought it right away as a stand alone and almost every early game sold well – no matter how bad it was. Actually Kinect is the perfect parallel to VR.

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BalsBigBrother

I might be a bit slow but I am seeing a pattern with regard to any game development that isn’t EVE Online.

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kgptzac

Inb4 Eve bittervets cheering for the death of CCP’s VR.

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John Mclain

Bittervet reporting, and WOOT! Death of that shitty VR! Next up in a year or so… (Woot death of that shitty mobile game!)

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zeko_rena

Does that happen?
I never know if I am in the bittervet bracket?
I have been playing since 2004, is it only length of play that is required to become a bittervet?

Personally I am sad to see the death of VR at CCP, especially for all the people now looking for jobs, but I am glad they at least gave new hardware a go

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kgptzac

I use the term as a derogatory one even though sometimes people can rightfully place me into it ;) So don’t worry.

Basically it’s the people who bitches about CCP whenever they do something that doesn’t involve improving nullsec pvp. when the devs spend some time improve highsec, they bitched about CCP ignoring the real game. When the devs iterate on new player experience, they bitched about CCP making the game too easy. So when CCP does anything other than Eve, they bitch about the dev time could be spent on improving Eve.

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silverlock

I could see cutting back but they are just going to toss out all the expertise they’ve developed at considerable cost? Every time I have some hope for this company they just go and prove me the fool.

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Armsbend

What would you do with it?

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silverlock

Cut staff back to whats minimally viable and continue develop a new project and look for VR contract work as well. They should have realized this was a long term investment. Now it just looks like they got in and out to soon. Well I’m sure others will profit from their investment.

wpDiscuz