Zenith: The Last City stands out as one of VR’s major MMORPG success stories, having been released in 2022 across all major headsets and receiving generally high praise. However, developers Ramen VR now reveal the studio has been operating at a loss for the past year, raising questions about its sustainability and the future of Zenith.

Ramen VR CEO and cofounder Andy Tsen released a developer blogpost wherein they outline the reasons for Zenith’s upcoming overhaul, which they describe as “a massive 2.0 update.” In short, the studio is fighting for its life.

“Understand that while Zenith was initially very profitable, we’ve been running it at a loss on a month to month basis for the better part of a year,” Tsen says in the post. “For two years the team has tried everything we could to get us back into profitability or user growth, but it just hasn’t panned out.”

There are big changes coming, but it’s uncertain what that entails at this point. In a separate post in late December, Ramen VR announced it would be launching a closed alpha of its 2.0 update, which is covered by non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

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“Our goal with the next update is to introduce some big changes to try to make our beloved world a sustainable development project,” Tsen continues. “We don’t believe that just polishing, fixing bugs, and adding content would lead to profitability.”

Tsen concludes it ultimately came down to a choice between making fundamental changes to the game, or pulling the plug entirely, hence the 2.0 update.

Zenith: The Last City celebrated a successful Kickstarter in 2019, giving the ambitious anime-inspired MMO a relatively small amount of cash to start what would become a suitably large project—as MMOs typically are as a rule. Shortly afterwards, the studio closed a $10 million Series A funding round, a first big step to generating the sort of scale the project hoped to achieve.

And investors were suitably impressed with the game’s direction, enough to return with a $35 million Series B in March 2022, only two months after it launched on PSVR, Quest, SteamVR and Rift headsets. Since then, the studio has released a number of large content updates which has doubled the amount of content in the game.

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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.
  • ViRGiN

    operating at loss after raising 45 million dollars?

    • kakek

      It’s a MMO. Operating it creates monthly cost, that have to be offset by monthly fees. It means they are now spending more on maintaining the servers and patching the game each month than the subscription bring in in the same time.
      Right now, they are loosing more than they earn each month.

      Does not mean they didn’t pay back the initial 45 mils and then made some profit before reaching that state. But if they keep the game running as it is now, they will eventually lose that profit.

      • Garhert

        Afaik there is no in-game store and no subscription, so paying back 45 million would mean 1.5 million copies sold at the full price of $30 (and that’s not what the studio gets). Beat Saber for comparison was sold ~1 million times in the first year and ~4 million times within 3 years.

  • JakeDunnegan

    Ah, that’s too bad. I hope it can sustain itself. Maybe Meta can come along and buy them out. Hint hint.

    The Meta universe should have a decent MMO and this one’s already working and has folks playing it.

  • Naruto Uzumaki

    Trash trash trash needs to die to make room for triple a games

  • Stealth Ico

    even traditional mmos fail way more often than succeed, so to think that they could break even is definitely something else

    curious when the shift to free to play and then offering MTX or some sort of premium account feature will happen as a last ditch attempt to appease investors

  • D-_-RAiL

    This is pretty common place with any form of VR startups.

  • ameba#23234 mdrea

    Lets be honest. In the choice: steam deck on the comfy couch vs swinging weightless swords standing for 3 hours with 1kg on your head the first one crushes the second

    Vr is just unfit for mmo grindfests

    • ameba#23234 mdrea

      It’s actually even bigger problem than just vr mmos.

      Most people come home from work to relax on the couch, not to jump around in vr but especially not to stand and swing arms grinding some armor

      • kool

        Most vr games should be playable sitting. I don’t want to stand and crouch especially when I can’t see the floor.

    • Ardra Diva

      yes been saying it for years a VR MMO needs simple, dramatic quests. The amount of walking you do in a world as big as Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings Online would mean you might actually get halfway there to your quest location in a single night.

  • Garhert

    What do you guys think about Ascent Quest? I think the concept is quite good and they already have some in-game footage. Unfortunately (at least for me), there will only be a standalone version if the other platforms are stable and successful. Early Access planned for Q4 2025. Kickstarter still lasts 7 days.

  • OB TR

    Zenith was fun for about a week. Ramen VR should have moved their profits toward developing another game instead of putting more into Zenith which was never going to be more than a glitch buy. Most players forgot about it fast.