EVE Online creator CCP Games announced today that it will cease the development of future VR titles and restructuring specific studio locations around the world.
The company made the official announcement via press release, revealing that its offices in both Atlanta, GA in the U.S., and Newcastle in the UK, will be closed down and sold as CCP Games pivots to a focus on both PC and mobile titles. Newcastle was the prior home of the team's EVE: Valkyrie development team, whereas the Atlanta office housed staff devoted to virtual reality research.
CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson stated that future PC and mobile gaming initiatives will be centralized to offices in Reykjavík, Shanghai, and London. The Shanghai office will be downsizing and refocusing on supporting business in China through “local partnerships.”
The developer’s most popular effort by far, MMO EVE Online, will not be affected, nor will the current VR titles currently on the market. As far as the other projects CCP Games has in development at this time, such as the PC first-person shooter Project Nova and mobile title Project Aurora, will move forward as planned as well.
“We will continue to support our VR games,” Pétursson stressed, “but will not be making material VR investments until we see market conditions that justify further investments beyond what we have already made.”
It’s clear that virtual reality hasn’t received the returns the company thought it would initially, demonstrated by the lack of players still spending time with EVE: Valkyrie. Although the multiplayer dogfighting shooter received fair scores when it made its debut in 2016 for PC, it hasn’t made much of a dent recently, attracting only 13 players in the last 24 hours on Steam. Players were mainly concentrated in the Warzone version of the game, which does not require users to play with a VR headset.
A free update in September made available the option to play sans VR, and the game’s price was also lowered from $39.99 to $29.99 at that time. According to SteamCharts, EVE: Valkyrie has continued to hemorrhage players over the last 30 days, which certainly isn’t a good sign for any title.
As it stands, however, the future of EVE: Valkyrie will rest in the hands of a new studio after the sale of CCP’s Newcastle studio. The current development team will continue working on the upcoming Winter Update for the game, which means custom matches, spectator mode, and tournament tools are still set to arrive before the end of 2017. So while CCP Games may be shelving future plans for virtual reality-based titles, at the very least it will continue to support the creation it took a chance on in the first place, despite its dwindling player count.
As far as the employees affected by the moves to restructure, CCP Games will be offering some relocation for selected employees as well as job placement assistance and severance packages.