VR’s Low Install Base Led CCP Games To Exit Market

by Jamie Feltham • April 13th, 2018

CCP Games’ annual fan event, EVE Fanfest, is taking place in Reykjavik, Iceland this week. It’s the first Fanfest since the company announced that it was halting its work in VR, which means it’s the first chance we have to hear directly from CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson about the reasoning behind that decision,

Unsurprisingly, Pétursson cited VR’s low install base as the cause of its swift exit from the scene. He explained as much to PC Gamer, saying: “I’m a big believer in the future of VR still, nothing really changes that. It’s just going to take a longer time to get off the ground in terms of install base. We were always estimating the journey to be quite slow, but it’s just going to take longer than makes sense for us to continue for now.”

That conclusion meant that, last year, CCP closed down its Atlanta studio, developer of multiplayer VR eSport, Sparc, and sold its Newcastle studio, best known for its work on EVE: Valkyrie, to Sumo Digital. The studio continues to maintain these games so others can play them, but don’t expect any major updates for them in the near future.

“The install base is not at a level that a company our size, and the type of games that we want to make, can be done based solely on consumer revenue,” Pétursson added. “It can be done, but you have to be a [top-selling] game every time. It’s extremely risky right now to do any game of size and scale.”

We don’t yet know how sales of VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are going, though Sony’s PlayStation VR (PSVR) passed the two million mark late last year. As Pétursson noted, these kinds of figures might be acceptable for smaller indie developers, but it’s just not viable for a studio of CCP’s size.

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  • Daniel Pierce

    Their foray into VR was a noble one, but not very impressive. Sparc looks like it had extremely low sales, and I could never find a game on free weekends. Eve: Valkryie took tons of work to turn out decent. The gameplay was good, progression, content and UI were not. Still one of the better early non-Touch games though.

  • Tony

    That’s what will happen when you release games that are focused on multiplayer into such a fledgling industry with a low install base. Sparc was particularly bad in this regard as it had negligible single player content and was also a timed PSVR exclusive, making the user base even smaller. You don’t release half a game, charge $30, and expect people to flock to it. That kind of a plan is doomed to failure.

    • Hone McBone

      Agreed, even though it’s two years after the launch of the Vive & Rift, I’d still be wary of purchasing a multiplayer only VR game. Outside of RecRoom I’m usually playing single player VR games or games like Project Cars 2 that have both options. One huge advantage of RecRoom is it’s cross plaform play too, the Oculus exclusives are probably the worst thing about PC VR at the moment.

      • PJ

        This, I love VR multiplayer, there’s something about seeing the others players move and interacting with them in VR that makes it so personal, and special. But the lack of any form of player base is a problem, my favourite multiplayer VR game is a prime example, Bullets and More, there’s hardly anyone on.
        Cross platform is the answer, in the past it was blamed on (and rightly so imo) the advantage PC players players have against console players because of the controller input M/K v Pad, with VR that’s eleminated, we’re, tracking aside, even

  • TimothyStone

    They came into the industry too early. Should have waited. I can see this industry taking off in a big way just two years from now.

    • disviq

      Not too early into industry, if they realized multiplayer is not the way to go with low install base. Had they created great single player, mission-based game introducing their universe, even short – they would have made an appetite for multiplayer that could come, indeed – few years later.

      • TimothyStone

        Well, there are a few other developers that have vanished as well. It was too early to jump in, but I do feel over the next 2-3 years it will be the time to jump in. The industry isn’t going to be just VR, but AR and VR.

  • Raphael

    Either that or they priced the game too high for too long and it disappointed many because it was compared to Elite Dangerous. Also the lack of single player campaign. So yes… sales were poor for CCP and it has nothing to do with their size. There are bigger developers committed to VR.

  • Jim P

    Survios seems to be raking in the money.

    • That’s a significantly smaller company with far fewer mouths to feed.

      • Firestorm185

        And they’re doin’ one heck of a job at it, too. Sprint Vector rocks!

  • PJ

    Making a crap game that didn’t sell doesn’t help though does it..?

  • kool

    Why is eves still $30?

  • DanDei

    The MP focus was a stupid mistake. They didn’t even have to build a very long cinematic and expensive single player campaign. Just a short and good one and then get the game out with a good mission editor like Freespace2 used to have. They have a ton of great assets from EVE:Online. Just give people an editor where they can place the ships or set timers and conditions when they arrive out of hyperspace. Throw in a couple of capital ships flying along predefined path and shooting at each other with the big guns. If they sold the game with such a tool I would have played it for hundreds of hours and would have uploaded my best scripted battles to steam workshop and tried many more I found there. But no, we do static MP dogfights with a slow matchmaking that lets you sit there and stare while waiting.

  • Da Mo (JFlash)

    EVE: Valkyrie as deep as puddle