Is the PSVR 2 dead after the latest round of PlayStation layoffs?

psvr 2

Sony Interactive Entertainment is slashing jobs once again, with the latest round of layoffs possibly pushing the PSVR 2 into the pile of dead PlayStation projects alongside the Vita and PSTV.

London Studio was a first-party studio known for developing the VR rendering technology LSSDK first used in PlayStation VR Worlds and Blood and Truth. The studio has also created a number of games for Sony’s EyeToy webcam and assisted in developing titles such as Killzone 2 and LittleBigPlanet.

The last update from the studio was that it was working on a brand-new multiplayer IP set in a modern fantasy London. According to studio co-head Tara Saunders, the game would have been playable without VR and was positioned to be the studio’s most ambitious project to date. Now it seems that the project is dead and there’s real cause for concern about the state of PSVR 2 and VR gaming in general after this move.

London Studio will close off in its entirety 

London Studio will completely shut down as a part of the mass layoffs affecting major divisions at Sony.

PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst was part of a statement saying Sony will be laying off around 900 employees around the globe.

In his statement on Sony’s official website, stated that these decisions are necessary for Sony to “grow and launch games on additional devices such as PC and mobile” and to “sustain social and online experiences.” Sony’s latest sci-fi PvE Helldivers 2 has been a huge success and the company is working on multiplayer experiences for other IPs such as the Horizon MMO.

This will affect Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Guerilla Games, Firesprite, and other teams. Guerilla Games and Firesprite are two other UK studios that have a history of developing VR games. Firesprite developed The Playroom VR in 2016 and The Persistence in 2018 and co-developed Horizon: Call of the Mountain with Guerilla Games. Firesprite was working on a live-service Twisted Metal game that’s now canceled alongside the layoffs, per Jason Schreier of Bloomberg.

Sony President and CEO Jim Ryan stated on SIE’s corporate website that the company is reorganizing and streamlining its operations to “continue to deliver the best gaming experiences possible, now and in the future.” 

The layoffs and the closure of London Studio are raising concerns about Sony’s VR gaming ambitions and the future of the PSVR 2. PlayStation-owned studios have been slashing jobs regularly over recent months, even in companies that are enjoying commercial success like Insomniac Games. Given PlayStation’s willingness to axe projects and the lack of security provided even after major success, it’s possible the PSVR 2 may be the next piece of dead hardware from the company.

Has the PSVR 2 sold well?

The PSVR 2 hasn’t kept up with the sales figures of other popular VR gaming options such as those under the MetaQuest brand.

The PSVR 2 sold nearly 600,000 units within six weeks of its release, which according to Sony was 8% more than the original PSVR during the same release period. However, sales charts from Amazon US show that the PSVR has been struggling to sell. The retailer moved fewer than 3,000 headsets, compared to the MetaQuest selling between 20,000 and 100,000 headsets during the same period.

In an interview with Barron’s, Sony’s head of marketing and sales Eric Lempel reiterated the importance of VR gaming to the company. The company also announced plans to test PSVR 2 compatibility with PC. This could indicate that PlayStation is planning to limit its VR gaming efforts to hardware manufacturing while leaving the actual game development to others.

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Written by Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed still treasures his time playing games on the original PlayStation, speedrunning through the Megaman X games and replaying acclaimed role-playing game Chrono Cross countless times. Since then, his love for JRPGs and platformers has only grown and is among the driving forces behind his passion for writing about video games. He has previously written for DualShockers and Same Old Gaming, and he can be found on Twitter / X at @Weltschmerz2887.

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