Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan announced today that the company is laying off 900 PlayStation employees, or around eight percent of the company, which will affect a number of its first-party game studios. This includes the closure of Sony’s London Studio, which created VR action-adventure game Blood & Truth (2019).

Ryan announced the news in a company-wide email today, noting that layoffs will affect a number of PlayStation studios across across the Americas, EMEA, Japan, and APAC.

The email wasn’t specific on where the layoffs will occur, with employees in the US expected to be notified today at some point. In the UK, the company says PlayStation’s London Studio will “close in its entirety.”

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As the studio behind PSVR exclusive Blood & Truth, PlayStation’s London Studio was last working on an unannounced online co-op combat game, set in modern fantasy London. It’s expected the game is now cancelled as a result of the studio’s closing.

Ryan says headcount reductions will also affect Firesprite, the studio behind PSVR 2 exclusive Horizon Call of the Mountain.

This follows recent news that Sony is making PSVR 2 officially compatible with PC VR games, as the company hopes to release some sort of PC support for the headset later this year. Reading between the lines somewhat, it seems Sony is strategically scaling back on first-party content right now, which means an uncertain future for the sort of anchor content PSVR 2 needs as its heads into its second year.

This story is breaking. We’ll be updating soon once it’s more clear exactly which studios in the US are also involved.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • gothicvillas

    Noo!!! It is Jim Ryan who needs to be laid off ffs

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Ryan announced last September that he would leave Sony in March 2024, so this is apparently his going-away present to the VR community and Sony employees.

      • Nevets

        That’s a rather simplistic view, particularly given the normal level of exposition in your comments!

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Well, he is leaving. The “going-away present” is a dark/sarcastic take on a complex management decision, but if you’ve seen my comments on the (non) success of PSVR2 due to strategic decisions/blunders, you probably noticed that I see Ryan as a big part of the problem.

          He wasn’t happy about the PSVR project he inherited and apparently couldn’t get rid of because the Sony Japan management wanted to keep it alive. Of course the PSVR1 wasn’t a financial success (nor was any other VR HMD), and strategy never depends on just one person. But in the end the management is still responsible for what the company does, and IMHO much potential/opportunity was wasted due to their (deliberate lack of) communication alone.

          Ryan has been with Sony for 30 years, directly involved with making PlayStation the most successful gaming console and a big money maker for Sony. But I’m a VR enthusiasts, not a Sony shareholder, and as such still annoyed. There are so many clever approaches in the PSVR2 design, and I feel it never got the support it needed. Unfortunately Ryan’s successor Hiroki Totoki also doesn’t seem to be a VR fan.

  • PerpetuallySkeptical

    Killing/gutting two of your best VR studios isn’t a good look for the future of the headset.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      It’s still too early to tell. With PSVR1, Sony went mostly “VR only” with a cheap (for 2016) HMD that probably didn’t make any money, and a couple of first party and high profile titles to jumpstart the market. 95% of the PS4 owners still ignored it.

      With PSVR2 they changed the strategy. The HMD is cheap to produce, but sold with enough margin to not lose money on the hardware. Its most outstanding feature is efficient ETFR, enabling VR modes in PS5 games to run at similar performance as the flat version, making production a lot cheaper/more attractive to developers. They went from Meta’s “throw money at it” approach to “make it cheaper to produce hardware/software”, sponsored a few high profile titles to show what is possible, but now seem to expect others to utilize these new options instead of paying for content themselves.

      Which might actually work, but could take some time to bear fruits, as those AAA projects that Sony hopes will integrate VR modes have very long development times. Apparently only a few studios were involved with PSVR2 early on. Most developers first heard of “hybrid games” during a closed-door conference in mid 2021, where Sony asked them to move away from pure VR experiences, and instead towards more console-quality AAA games designed for both flatscreen and VR.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        I gave a thumbs down because I doubt it: looking at the 30:1 or so sales between Quest and PSVR2, guess where development studios put their money? The Quest3 struggles to attract AAA games, PSVR2 is dead if Sony does not support it. Too bad, because the PS5+ETFR offers 10x the performance of a Quest3. I always wonder how much time it takes to port a game between platforms and how much to make a VR version – relative to the inital effort to create the game.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The hybrid strategy is smart for PSVR/PCVR, with better chances to get AAA VR than anything Meta does, by spreading cost over a much larger flat gamer base. But it’s a long term strategy, so Sony should’ve confirmed PSVR2 and future VR support years earlier, and priced PSVR2 lower. Hyrid targets AAA titles that would never support Quest, requiring millions of unit sales, and may take another console/PSVR generation to gain traction. Studios that started integrating VR in 2021 may now be far enough to not cut it out, so more AAA with VR modes may release in the next years, Sony may offer attractive Xmas bundles, and opening PSVR2 for PC may add PCVR to the studio’s calculation.

          It could have already worked if someone hadn’t f&$%ed it up. I assume Ryan sabotaged the good PSVR2 concepts by denying it the needed PR and financial support, because he wanted to drop VR, but was forced to keep it. Admittedly speculation, derived from his known dislike of VR and the question “How the hell could they accidentally mess up a brilliant strategy?” They couldn’t, it wasn’t an accident, but there is still hope.

  • Sony showing it’s rocksolid support of VR to thier fanbase ….
    Enjoy your POSVR2!

    • PerpetuallySkeptical

      Did you ever buy a Vision pro? I vaguely remember you saying you’d never spend that much on a headset.

  • sfmike

    The fact Sony never bothered to get out a PSVR2 version of Blood & Truth shows how stupid and mismanaged these companies are. Between bad decision making and forced DEI on all projects, the brain dead corporate world continues to show how the bigger you are the more wasteful and foolish you become. Losing those 900 employees will push quarterly profits up a little bit and that’s all that matters to CEOs and corporate boards that never look farther ahead than the next profits report.

    • ApocalypseShadow

      Yeah. It’s ridiculous. The reason I didn’t buy one yet was because I was waiting for something like a Blood and Truth 2. Or, an overhaul of the first game ported from PSVR.

      The headset looks great. The features are great. But no high profile action titles left me on the fence. The price is fine with me. But I’m a gamer. I want games that I like to show up or there’s no buy.

      I went and bought a Quest 3 after that last State of Play. And that’s not a good sign when your a fan of Sony’s games but there’s nothing there not enough there to make me bite like the first headset.

      • kool

        I think the decision was made before the psvr2 dropped to abandon it. There hasn’t been any year two games announced from Sony which should have been announced over the summer, they didn’t port older titles and where is astrobot?

      • Andrey

        Hilarious to see that even you – the biggest Sony fanboy out there, someone who wrote walls of texts to me in the past proving how gorgeous PSVR2 really is and how stupid I am for not believing in Sony’s might and that “sooner or later Sony will show them all!”, now criticizing Sony and it’s attitude towards VR.
        You can never guess what can happen in life, huh?

  • ShaneFrost

    It’s as if, and bare with me here, locking your headset peripheral to a single console that struggled with sales for a variety of unfortunate factors, while also not helping support the previous back log of games from the first generation PSVR headset, might not have made for meeting sales expectations.

    Couple this with not having a stronger first party set of VR based games to better encapsulate let alone prove WHY that headset should be the one to go to, and you have this chef kiss of a plate we’re staring at. I know I oversimplify what is a far more complicated situation but even a shallow glance can see what happens when you go in lukewarm with a peripheral and platform.

    Least of which it keeps happening time and time again that larger publishing companies don’t want to invest in stronger VR experiences and apps, leaving it to primarily an indie market. And even when they do, it’s often along the same lines of what we see with the hardware. Cut corners, keep low budget, make sub-par experiences, and then surprise pikachu when it’s not getting critical reception.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I usually stick to Hanlon’s razor:

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      With PSVR1/2, a bizarre mix of smart and stupid actions looks like a Sony internal tug of war though. PSV1 was late to the 2016 wave of VR HMDs, had the lowest resolution, worst controllers and weakest CPU/GPU. Yet it was well balanced for PS4 and got the first AAA VR support with RE7/Skyrim/FO4. It sold way better than Rift or Vive, with 5mn PSVR1 reported by 2020-01, proving that Sony had a pretty good grasp what their users wanted from VR.

      But in 2019-04 Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO John Kodera was followed by Jim Ryan, former head of SIE Europe and global sales and marketing, and Kodera’s Co-CEO, a known VR sceptic. The following years, there were no more big VR releases from Sony, no VR commitment for the 2020 PS5 and gloomy VR comments by Ryan just before its launch. Developers were told about the PSVR2 hybrid strategy a year after PS5 launched, when many AAA titles were already in development, possibly to late to add VR. And then PSVR2 was priced very high, not supported by ad campaigns, with not even PSVR1 Sony titles ported.

      It feels that the “squandering” was somehow intentional.

      • Anonymous

        Ever since most of the management and decision making functions get moved to the USA things are starting to become shit and SIE felt like a company devoid of passion abd futurism.

        Sony needs to move decision functions back to Japan and have Yoshida back in charge again!

  • this along with putting psvr2 on pc makes it look like they are going to drop the psvr2

    • Blinkin73

      My thoughts exactly. I wouldn’t be surprised of that is what they do.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      There are rumors that the Sony (Interactive Entertainment) management didn’t want to release the PSVR2 in the first place, but was overruled by Sony’s movie division, who wanted a foot in the door just in case watching movies on HMDs takes off. So PSVR2 is sort of their insurance to still be a mayor player if AVP style HMDs become a success and people start consuming media on these instead of consoles/TVs as today.

      So the support for VR on PlayStation apparently depends on much more long term considerations than current sales numbers, and there are different interest at play at Sony, with some wanting more, some wanting less VR. Opening to PC may actually be a win by the “more VR” faction instead of a fire sale initiated by the “less VR” faction.

    • foamreality

      I don’t get it. PCVR gaming is amazing (when done right), even on old PCVR headsets. Sony should have brought VR gaming to the masses with PSVR2. It was so easy for them. They just needed games and better advertising to go with it. I don’t know how they failed so badly. Such a shame.

      • that would have change nothing. the interest in vr just isn’t there. only a few it’s niche for a reason. the larger gaming world doesn’t want this current vr games.

  • Mike

    none of this is directly targeted at vr but its seems worded to make it sound like this is in response to their vr products. these studios do more flat games than VR games. it’s possible there just trimming the fat across there company.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      But this is the studio that made CotM, together with GTA7 and RE4 the games that makes a PSVR2 set worth having alongside a Quest3.

  • BloozMaster3000

    Vr is dead

    • Paul Bellino

      Ha Ha Ha maybe Sony because they are Totally and Without a Doubt Clueless. To release such massive duds like the lame burry mess Switchback and Firewall Zero Hour, the control scheme is handled like it is a flat game. Its a total joke. Do these studios even play VR. Such Embarrassing flubs and duds on their part. Where is Half-Life Alyx on Sony? Where is the Multimedia support? (BIG SCREEN) Where are all the good games from PSVR 1 They could have Hired some modders to get RED DEAD Redemption 2 to play in VR. So many possibilities and yet they sit there like the Losers they are….. I could turn it around in a day for them.

  • Nevets

    VR is dead? Or just PSVR2 is dead?

    • Paul Bellino

      PSVR 2 because Sony Executives are Total Clueless Assholes

  • Paul Bellino

    I could not happen to a better team. The studio must have a lot of dead weight employees being the fact they released a no fun burry mess of a game. These people take millions from Sony and produce crap. I do not feel sorry for them.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Talking about COTM??? I loved the demo, was the rest so bad?

      • Paul Bellino

        Switchback VR. A Boring, Blurry Mess That was Totally overhyped. Developers take millions from Sony and there was no way they even play tested it in the headset. They rip us off and we are supposed to feel sorry for them. I think Not

        • nicki gentry

          What I don’t get with tethered vr fading away why didn’t Sony make psvr 2 a stand-alone headset, instead of making pc vr compatible knowing that a lot of people can’t afford vr ready pcs, the gaming landscape changes the arcade died because people rather would play games at home and not have to use quarters desktops might die because of the laptop, all you have to do is plug the laptop into the wall and it’s portable and now tethered vr is dying because people are buying standalone headsets that don’t require a pc or console, vr isn’t dying it’s evolving to standalone headsets.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            The whole point of PSVR2 is to be able to play current AAA titles like RE4/8 or GT7 also in VR by providing a HMD that compensates for the higher system requirements by integrating VR specific performance optimizations, because this is the only way AAA titles with budgets in the hundreds of millions can be released for the tiny VR user base.

            What you are suggesting is Sony releasing a souped up Quest, which is not only very hard and expensive (and currently technically infeasible for PS5 performance levels), but also not delivering the required user numbers to get AAA support, as Meta has shown despite billions in investments.

          • Paul Bellino

            You know what you are talking about

          • Paul Bellino

            That because you cannot get the fidelity, we want without the cord. One of my biggest gripes with PSVR2 is all the watered-down Meta Ports This headset is so much better than that. They have power but don’t know what to do with it. Resident Evil 4 quality is the only games they should be putting on there. If we want Meta Games, we would have bought a Quest 3

  • Paul Bellino

    Look Bozo master you don’t even own a headset or know what you are talking about. So, shut up peckerhead.

    • BloozMaster3000

      Lmao you’re not that guy billy

      • Paul Bellino

        How much you wanna bet

        • BloozMaster3000

          How about you go shoot up a school pauly

  • nicki gentry

    I never touched my psvr after getting quest 2, I hated having to hook up all those wires with the psvr, the picture on the quest 2 is so much clearer too, it actually felt like you where there, Sony should have made psvr 2 standalone.

  • nicki gentry

    And I do want vr to succeed it’s helping me get good at bowling, and I love that ghostbusters game, it feels so cool hold that proton blaster and open doors, I guess if vr goes I’ll have to back to lucid dreaming.

  • Blinkin73

    They should at least port those games over to PC so when their headset gets support it has something Sony made to work on it. Heck, throw in those games and Astrobot as a package.

  • Paul Bellino

    I don’t know what was thinking having bought a Sony PlayStation and PSVR2. I should have known not to trust them. They are a very greedy company that wants to put no effort in and Reep all the rewards. With that being said I will sell me Sony shit box and shit headset and invest in the Valve Deckard when it releases this year. PCVR is king and always will be. Sony as we can plainly see will always be licking the ball from PC hoping something tasty comes off. Yes, Sony is that stupid and retarded.

  • Brettyboy01

    Sony better have something up their sleeve with the PSVR2 because a Blood & Truth remaster or sequel is an absolute wasted opportunity.