In what can only be characterized as one of the biggest blows to the budding VR industry, CCP Games is shelving its VR efforts.
The Iceland-based creator of EVE Online is one of VR’s biggest proponents and earliest developers, producing some of the industry’s most prominent titles including Rift-first space battle game EVE: Valkyrie, mobile VR turret shooter Gunjack and PlayStation-first sports game Sparc. The company is closing its Atlanta office and selling its Newcastle office, according to a report by the Iceland Monitor. The decision affects around 100 employees.
The CCP Atlanta studio is being closed down and after 8 years my time with CCP is coming to an end… Now to figure out what to do next.
— Sigurdur Gunnarsson (@SiggiGG) October 30, 2017
The report indicates CCP leadership still believes in VR long term, but they need to wait a few years for the market to mature before continuing to invest in development.
CCP bundled EVE: Valkyrie for the Oculus Rift, shipping alongside Playful’s Lucky’s Tale as a gamepad-based VR game for the headset’s launch. It later shipped on PlayStation VR and Steam. Eventually, CCP launched a mode for the game outside VR headsets supporting cross-play across all systems so that there was a broad base of players with which to compete.
Gunjack launched on Gear VR with its sequel, Gunjack 2, coming exclusively to Google’s Daydream. Sparc launched on PlayStation VR with plans to come to other headsets later.
Some VR-focused companies have suffered early burnouts, with startups like Envelop headed off by Microsoft and social startup Altspace acquired after running out of cash. But CCP Games was a particularly early supporter of Oculus, all the way back to its Kickstarter campaign, and the many updates to EVE: Valkyrie suggested the company’s VR efforts were seeing enough adoption to warrant continued support. Ultimately, though, that just doesn’t seem like it was the case.