According to a report by Icelandic publication MBL, CCP is shelving virtual reality as it closes its Atlanta location and sells its Newcastle office, two important VR branches that produced Sparc (2017) and EVE: Valkyrie (2016). The report contends CCP will be shifting its focus from VR onto PC and mobile games for the foreseeable future.

Update (10/31/17): CCP says in an EVE: Valkyrie’forum post that “EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone is not going away. We love the game just as much as we love our players, so you can rest assured that we’ll continue to support the product into the future.” CCP says the development team at the Newcastle studio will remain intact despite switching hands to a new company and complete work on the upcoming Winter Update for EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone.

Sparc, according to a forum post, “isn’t going anywhere any time soon and that you’ll still be able to meet and compete online in Sparc for the foreseeable future.” Sparc servers will remain up, says CCP. The company says the virtual sport’s release for platforms beyond PlayStation VR will be confirmed “very soon,” and that the update will come in “days, not weeks.”

Original article (10/30/17): MBL reports the move will affect about 100 employees of the company, which tallies more than 370 across its Reykjavik, Atlanta, Newcastle, London, and Shanghai offices. Some developers have had the offer to move between offices, although some aren’t so lucky, including long-time CCP Atlanta dev Sigurdur Gunnarsson, who claims he isn’t being relocated.

Some layoffs have even touched the home office in Reykjavik, including the company’s senior PR and social lead ‘CCP Manifest’ and community developer ‘CCP Logibro’.

The Newcastle studio was tasked with creating arguably one of the most successful VR games to date, EVE: Valkyrie, a title supporting cross-play on Vive, Rift and PSVR. Valkyrie recently pushed a major update that added traditional monitor support to it’s widely diversified VR platform—somewhat foretelling of today’s news. The space-based arcade dogfighter was one of the most influential VR games from the very beginning, back to the first time we get our hands on an early version at Gamescom 2013, right after the studio changed its name from EVE-VR and committed to releasing it as an actual VR title.

image courtesy CCP Games

The Atlanta studio was best known for Sparc, the PSVR sports game that launched in August. The game has garnered an impressive following on the PSVR platform since launch, although it was actually first intended for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The switch from SteamVR game to PSVR exclusive was a surprise move that left many hypothesizing trouble in paradise.

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CCP Games CEO: "We expected VR to be two to three times as big"

CCP’s mobile VR game Gunjack (2017) was developed by the Shanghai office, which considering the news, will likely be repurposed for the company’s intentions to create more PC and mobile titles.

Despite this, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson told MBL he hasn’t lost faith in the industry though, saying “[w]e have faith in virtual reality in the long run,” adding that new technology comes in ever-changing waves. Even though Pétursson says VR could offer the company slight growth in the next few years, they want to focus on the markets where they see more opportunities, thereby putting virtual reality on ice. “Virtual reality will eventually change the world,” Pétursson reassures.

It’s uncertain at this time what will become of the company’s VR titles, and whether they will continue to see maintenance, or be left collect dust as consumer headsets march forwards. We’ve reached out to CCP, but haven’t received a reply yet. We’ll update this article as news comes out.

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  • impurekind

    What went wrong? I thought EVE: Valkyrie was pretty decent success in VR, no?

    • Demand not high enough, even if everybody bought it maybe.

      • Icebeat

        but it was free

        • Yeah, I mean there are not enough users of VR yet for the effort

    • Duane Locsin

      I think they just see greener pastures in mobile, like Konami.

      F2P/P4F/Freemium and IAP, microstransaction pay models.

  • Folo

    Such a shame. Eve’s definitely one of my vr favorites of all time. What about Sparc? I guess that won’t be coming to neither the Rift or Vive as was expected? :/

  • Evgeni Zharsky

    Bad sign for VR

    • Michael

      Definitely not, CCP shuttered World of Darkness but no one said bad sign for MMOs… it’s just how CCP is and their decision. VR is growing now more than ever.

    • Mei Ling

      No not at all. It’s a continuing indicator of how CCP works as a company – they invest and then drop as soon as things are not going their way. It’s a consequence of being a one trick pony (Eve Online).

    • Lol bad sign for VR? Let me remind you fallout is still schedule for release on December. A much bigger IP. More like bad strategy from CCP

      • And what if Bethesda decides to focus on PC and not VR after those releases? And others as well after their VR debut.

        Lucky Tale new game is not VR.

        It’s like devs jus develop a few VR games and give up.

    • Adrian Meredith

      considering how the pimax kickstarter went i think you’ll find VR is doing quite well

    • Get Schwifty!

      Ah but you discount the decades long commitment Facebook, despite all their faults, has. I keep telling you guys, despite some of FB’s tactics, it’s a blessing in disguise that they are in the business with the attitude they have.

      • Yeah man, I’ve gotta agree with that. FB’s involvement is a boon all the way around, if nothing else because they’re helping things get off the ground. I see this all much like the early PC era, back when IBM, Compaq, and a few others had to take a lot of chances and sometimes take a hit to their profit just to push forward into another year of improvements to R&D and final products. In the end, it seems to have paid off, but it was a nearly 4 decade long process to get from there to here. I don’t expect VR to take nearly as long to mature, but I also don’t think it’s just going to happen in the first generation of decent, consumer priced hardware.

        The biggest problem as I see it, really, is a matter of “The Matrix Effect”. The public at large, when they think of VR, tend to jump straight to the Matrix films as their go-to reference for what they think VR should be like. Meanwhile, you also have a great number of early adopters that were gamers back in the 1980s, grew up with films like Lawnmower Man, and knew fully well that it would take decades for VR to develop, but that once it finally arrived in a consumer friendly form, it’d be a hit with seasoned gamers long before it’d go mainstream. Meanwhile, we have a huge number of people, both inside the industry and out, that are trying to push VR as a mainstream entertainment technology long before the public at large are ready for that as a whole.

        The greater majority of people that have reported simulator sickness effects have been casual gamers and gamers that don’t play a large amount of games that use fast 360-degree/6-DoF environments; But every single person I’ve talked with that was also a player of the Descent series (and games of that type) are also having an absolute blast with VR because they’re experiencing no ill effects at all. At the same time, many of this particular lot also grew up alongside video games and understand that sometimes in order to move forward, you have to take a step or two backward –just ask any hardcore PC gamer what they thought about the industry push a few years back to get everyone on mobile, meanwhile trying to tell all of us that PC gaming was going the way of the dinosaurs… which didn’t happen… and instead lead to VR finally reaching consumer product state at a price that’s sub-$2000 for a complete working system, regardless of platform. Compared to 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, that’s a steal. When I first priced VR hardware many years ago, the HMD alone that I wanted at that time had a prices starting at $18000, and this was before adding in the system to run it on –on top of that, the HMD looked like something an Apache pilot would wear during a combat op –but go figure why that was… it was co-developed by DARPA for use in early military experimentation with VR, over a decade before cutting edge hospitals began using VR for things such as molecular modelling.

        I think it’ll be a more interesting discussion in about 10 years when we look back on the late 20-teens, and how awkward the launch of the VR industry was, during a time when no one knew what to do with it, didn’t know what consumers wanted from it, and when consumer expectations exceeded what could be technologically delivered. I tend to believe that all of the growing pains we’re seeing now will be somewhere around where any mature entertainment medium’s are at that point. Early TV and Radio had their own awkward phase, as did film, theater, and in more recent times, arcade games leading to home video games and PCs going from being primarily work tools to being some of the most powerful gaming platforms ever designed. VR will mature in time, but I’m happy to be part of it’s early development, and more so to be involved in so many beta testing projects right now related to VR –because VR has lead to more active development across more platforms than I think I’ve ever seen in my 45 years of living.

  • bschuler

    I don’t know about everyone else.. but when I see a game with EVE in it, I immediately think of all the news stories of $200K+ spaceships being destroyed. That was a complete turn off for me. So if this VR version didn’t have paid ships, etc.. I feel bad for them.. but they should have changed the name to avoid the confusion with that other game that consisted of being ripped off online.

    • Hivemind9000

      You really don’t understand Eve Online at all. I guess the news media are partially to blame as they try to value ships based on real-world equivalents if that ship was somehow cashed out of the game. The reality is that most (if not all) the game currency is earned by large teams of people in-game through mining, trading, manufacturing etc. The fact that a game can have such large battles (1000+ ships) between well organized groups of people still amazes me.

      • IKR? This isn’t a big deal (the loss of a massively expensive ship in game) really at all. I’ve had that happen to me a couple of times in Elite:Dangerous. The thing is, you need to keep your cash reserves high (we’re talking in-game currency here… not real world money) so that you can afford insurance on your ship –much like in real life, you would insure your car, home, boat/yacht/ship, etc.. At least, that’s the way I’ve come to look at it. Yes, it sucked the first time it happened, but it was a learning experience too… a very valuable one that taught me to plot my jump routes a lot better so that I wouldn’t end up stranded light years from any fuel depots where my only recourse was to self-destruct or die in the deep freeze.

        It’s part of what’s making some of these games excellent, because so much is taken into account for the sake of simulated realism. When you’re dealing with games that have a Galactic economy, it should stand to reason that if you earn your way into an expensive and powerful ship that you will need massive amounts of insurance in the event that something happens to that investment.

        Oh, and the last ship that got blown up of mine had an in-game value of around $34 million Creds, so $200K is nothing by comparison. It’s sort of like Vegas in that respect. If you don’t take a chance, you stand to gain *nothing*, but if you take a risk and play things right, you stand a high chance of winning the day.

        • Ben

          I’m not sure if you’re realizing that the ships in EVE online can be and are purchased with real world money.

          • oh… in that case, that’s a big deal.

          • Ben

            I really can’t fault you for not realizing it, as it does seem completely insane. However, the most expensive single ship an individual can buy is about $8,000 USD… I’m not sure where the $200k figure comes from, perhaps it’s the loss of a fleet or there are even larger ships that have to be owned by groups of individuals.

          • yeah, that would figure. :)

  • FireAndTheVoid

    Abandoning development of high-quality VR games in favor of developing mobile games is like an author abandoning novels in favor of children’s books. Such a waste of talent.

    • Laurence Nairne

      I disagree with the analogy. Where would children adopt a love of reading if not from children’s books. Creating literature for children is no waste of talent, and requires a different set of skills.

      • Massimo Depero

        I totally agree

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      • FireAndTheVoid

        Maybe this wasn’t the best analogy. I really didn’t mean to insult authors of children’s books. I guess what I mean is that it would be terribly upsetting for George R. R. Martin to stop working on Game of Thrones so that he could make more money writing for a different genre.

        • I get what you mean, man. It’d be like if Lamborghini’s lead designer quit his job to develop soapbox racers, or if Harley Davidson suddenly decided to get out of the motorcycle business to make nothing but tricycles –effectively wasting a tremendous glut of talent on something that’s far beneath their capabilities.

          • Billy Jackson

            comes down to money.. development time vs income. mobile games are cheap to make and selling just a few can make you millions.. vs 1-3 years of full VR development to only rake in a few million.. the audience just isnt there yet.. VR does not have that killer must have app yet.

  • paul

    Please ask them about Sparc, a couple weeks ago they told me that we would get Sparc for oculus.

    • It’s been confirmed. it’s coming to Rift and Vive, both. :)

  • NooYawker

    That’s a shame but the money isn’t there yet. There just aren’t enough VR users yet.

    • Meow Smith

      Even with its new 2d support players aren’t flocking to it, its over priced and a very
      niche game that appeals to a limited number of gamers, they should have been aware of this right from the go and budgeted accordly.

      The game right from the go should have had 2d support but then with out being able to use vr to carry the game for 2d players they would have had to add more content to the game to make customers feel its worth buying.

      • I’ll agree with all of those points, but I personally believe that rather than even making this game, they should have instead figured out a way to port EVE Online to VR & consoles and opened it up to cross platform play in that way. E-O already had a huge player base, but I can understand as well the reasoning that went into not doing that.

        It’d be cool to see CCP come back into VR in a few years, right about the time that EVE-Online 2 would be getting close to launch (if they make that game, that is), and make E-O 2 a flagship VR title. Maybe by then we’ll also see Star Citizen in a full final release form with full VR support… we can wish, right? ;)

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    EVE was a pathetic excuse to sell DLC, good riddance.
    Making a game for VR without single player was stupid.

  • PJ

    Make crap games and your going to struggle to stay afloat

  • Lucidfeuer

    Every single CPP opportunity has been wasted since EVE. They simply are a shit studio who got lucky by developing one successful online game which thanks to the community and it’s particular development, stayed afloat for some times.

    But they never managed to develop anything beyond that, and all their attempts have been predictable failure, even though initial concepts were great.