Future of VR game development uncertain


Layoffs at Supermassive Games: Future of VR game development uncertain

Image: Supermassive Games Ltd

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Bad news for VR fans: Supermassive Games plans to restructure and lay off 90 employees.

FACTS

British video game developer Supermassive Games has announced plans to lay off employees as part of the company’s restructuring.

According to Bloomberg, 90 of the 300 employees will be laid off. Staff were informed of the impending redundancies by email on Monday morning. Under British employment law, companies must announce mass layoffs.

After initial reports of the layoffs became public, Supermassive Games released a statement via X (formerly Twitter) yesterday. In it, the studio explained that the company is planning a restructuring and consultation period that will affect some colleagues. The company wants to focus on its core competencies and upcoming titles in order to continue to operate sustainably.

CONTEXT

Large portfolio of VR games

Supermassive Games is best known for the horror adventure games Until Dawn, The Quarry and the Dark Pictures series. The studio works closely with Sony and has released several VR games for PSVR and PSVR 2 in the past, including Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Tumble VR, The Inpatient, and Bravo Team.

Most recently, Supermassive Games released Switchback VR, the spiritual successor to the rollercoaster shooter Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. The horror game was supposed to be released at the launch of PSVR 2, but was delayed and ultimately failed to impress due to disappointing graphics and a number of bugs. With subsequent updates, Supermassive Games has fixed many of the bugs and added new content.

OPINION

Supermassive Games layoffs: The end of VR game development?

The announcement to focus on core competencies could mean the end of VR development at Supermassive Games. It is not yet known which departments will be affected, but the job cuts will likely mean that fewer resources will be available for VR game development.

Add to this the likely moderate success of the PSVR 2 and the resulting limited sales for developers. One way to reach a larger VR audience would be to port the game to PC VR. Supermassive Games recently announced that it would be bringing the previously PS4-exclusive Until Dawn to PC. So why not follow up with Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Switchback VR?

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