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.
The CCP Atlanta studio is being closed down and after 8 years my time with CCP is coming to an end… Now to figure out what to do next.
— Sigurdur Gunnarsson (@SiggiGG) October 30, 2017
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.
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.
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.