Archiact joins a growing list of VR studios undergoing layoffs.
Best known for developing DOOM 3: VR Edition and Journey To Foundation, the latter having launched last October on most major VR platforms, the Canadian studio is now facing widespread layoffs across most departments. While Archiact didn't state its specific reasons, Journey to Foundation may have underperformed in sales. The team requested any studios currently hiring to contact them, so they can pass on the information to affected former employees.
Here's the full statement:
To call it a rough time for the wider games industry would be an understatement. Estimated to have reached over 10,000 layoffs in the last year, that includes many VR developers and publishers like Resolution Games, Lode, TinyBuild, Codemasters, two of Meta's first-party studios - Ready at Dawn and Downpour Interactive, while First Contact Entertainment shut down completely. That's before getting into Meta's 20k layoffs, engine maker Unity and Pico's recent restructuring.
But why are these layoffs so widespread? First Contact called "the lack of support for VR within the industry" a notable factor, while Ready at Dawn and Downpour were casualties of Meta's "Year of Efficiency." For context, Meta's Q3 2023 earnings call reported a $3.7 billion "loss" for the Reality Labs division. Depending on the company, increasing game budgets, inflation, mismanagement and longer development cycles are also potential layoff factors.
Many speculate gaming's post-pandemic investment bubble is bursting following sales increases during the COVID-19 pandemic peak in 2020. The Embracer Group is a prominent example, which gained attention for its aggressive acquisition strategy that included Vertigo Games and Force Field. Following a large-scale restructure announced last June, subsidiaries have seen repeat layoffs.