SpatialOS developer Improbable reports $81 million in operating losses


Improbable, the London-based startup that’s responsible for creating SpatialOS, has released its accounts to Companies House, and the news is not good. The company is reporting £63.7M (approximately $81M USD) in operating losses. That’s a rise of 65% from this time last year, when operating losses were £38.5M (about $49M USD).

While revenue for Improbable did rise to £1.2 million, research and development costs of £17.4 million and administrative expenses of £47.6 million accounted for the loss. The company attributes its “strategic focus on growth” as the factor for the numbers, pointing out that an increased headcount over the course of the year and operation expansions in Canada added to operating expenses, as well as commercial traction in its defense-based offering, which prompted investment in growing Improbable’s London and Virginia branches.

In spite of these losses, Improbable appears assured that it’s playing the long game. A spokesperson says the company “remains confident that [it has] the resources to deliver on our strategy” and that the accounts “do not reflect the major changes to the company which took place in the nine months since [they] were closed.” This perhaps alludes to Improbable’s introduction of SpatialOS tech to China along with all of its other expansions. Improbable has also received investment from other companies as well, such as $502M from Japanese telecom corp Softbank and $50M from Chinese MMO company NetEase.

SpatialOS, readers will recall, is the tech that helps bring massive worlds to life, promising high numbers of players and other entities with a strong sense of permanence. The most famous of the MMOs that ran on SpatialOS was Bossa Studios’ Worlds Adrift, which sunsetted in July 2019 — an event that the studio attributed to limited resources, shifting business priorities, and challenges with working in SpatialOS according to an interview, though problems with SpatialOS were pointed out to not be the largest contributor to Worlds Adrift’s end. Improbable was also a leading factor in the end of large-scale battle royale shooter Mavericks, where Improbable revoked funding for the title.

SpatialOS is also the base for a variety of in-development games that Improbable has cast lights on, including a AAA game using Crytek’s CRYENGINE and the FPS/RTS hybrid MMO Wizard’s Wrath.

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but they have a multiplayer game being worked on by a dude that did swtor y’all!

Robert Mann

>$60 million on admin.

Translation: Our executives need big payouts, because that’s how business works. Even businesses that fail do this! We have to pay them $1mill+!

Reality: This is stupid everywhere, and worse when failure to perform severances are just as stupidly high (and that person is then sought by dozens of other companies eager to pay them a ton to fail again).

TJ French

I’m confused. Are we rooting for them or not? The data provided had me leaning towards no and wondering how they can waste that cash. Is nothing positive coming from them yet?

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I wouldn’t care if they went out of business tomorrow.

Jon Wax

The tech we root for. Hedge fund might buy company out?

Robert Mann

The technology and idea isn’t bad… the business choices are pretty foul. I’d like to see the company reworked with more reasonable fiscal choices and better pay equality. That’s true of almost all businesses though…

As for why they are losing money, they bought out executives from some big companies with insane salaries in the multi million dollar range.