CCP Games is ending the development of its VR projects, closing its Atlanta studio, and selling its Newcastle team that worked on virtual reality games. CCP was one of the first companies to embrace VR, and it launched the space-sim shooter Eve: Valkyrie alongside the Oculus Rift headset in 2016. Like other multiplayer VR games, Valkyrie struggled to attract a large enough player pool to fill matches with real people instead of A.I.
Getting out of VR is giving CCP a chance to regroup around its successful massively multiplayer online galaxy simulator Eve: Online. But the company’s VR retreat does not mean it thinks the technology is doomed.
“We have faith in virtual reality in the long run,” CCP chief executive officer Hilmar Veigar Pétursson said in an interview with Icelandic news site MBL (translated by Google). “Virtual reality will eventually change the world. [But] we are going to focus more on PC and mobile games.”
For now, however, the world remains unchanged by the presence of VR headsets for PCs, consoles, and smartphones. CCP worked on all of those various platforms with Eve: Valkyrie appearing on Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR and the simpler Eve: Gunjack showing up on mobile VR.
But Gunjack is not an experience that I would want to go back to over and over, and the cost of high-end VR means that consumers are hesitant to adopt Rift, Vive, or PSVR. With only a few million units on the market, one or two online multiplayer games can survive — let alone thrive. And CCP is done trying to compete over a relatively small number of consumers.