Media giant Viacom has closed down its VR and AR division, Viacom Next.
This week, reports surfaced that the company, which owns brands like Nickelodeon and MTV, would be making a number of layoffs as part of its restructuring, with a potential merger with CBS on the table. UploadVR understands that Viacom Next, which was established in 2015 and has worked on multiple projects for both VR and AR, has been shuttered as part of the move.
News comes by way of Creative Director, David Shiyang Liu, who yesterday emailed various members of the industry with the following message:
As of a few hours ago, Viacom NEXT is no more.
But look at what we did in two years. Holy crap – we were everywhere, from The White House with an MTV Tilt Brush Art Show, through to Sundance and SXSW with Tyler Hurd; to helping Isaac Cohen make his dreams; and through to helping Paramount and the VMAs with getting Bumblebee and the Moonman into homes everywhere. There’s more than I can type right now, and we were only just getting started too.
To all my friends in VR, thanks for everything. The medium is shining brighter than ever and I urge you to keep fighting the good fight and kicking ass. I’m thankful that we were able to dance with you at all.
In the coming days I’ll probably be taking some time off with family as I figure out next steps for myself and my team. If you’re looking to hire some kickass VR devs, designers, and artists, please let me know. They’ll definitely be keen to speak with you!
A later tweet further confirmed the news.
Sad to say that Viacom NEXT is no more. Our super talented devs, artists and designers are looking for a new home if you’re hiring. Please DM me.
— David Liu (@thedak) February 7, 2018
We’ve reached out to Viacom to confirm the news and ask how many staff have been affected.
Viacom Next’s work included several VR projects, like frantic smashing game, Smash Party, and Tyler Hurd’s most recent surreal VR music video, Chocolate. Late last year the studio also released an AR app tying into the Transformers movie franchise.
This is the latest in a string of high-profile VR studio closures over the past few months. Back in January we reported that VR production studio Future Lighthouse was shutting down and last October EVE: Valkyrie developer CCP Games ended its work in VR.