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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J

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.

Lateris
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Lateris

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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Dragon Whimsy

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.