Sony is shuttering its PlayStation VR studio based in Manchester, UK, and it’s possible that the developer’s AAA VR game has been binned as a result (via UploadVR).
This will be the third PlayStation studio in the UK to be axed in this generation. Evolution was closed in 2016, Guerrilla Cambridge followed suit in 2017, and all three studios were focusing on PlayStation VR projects before befalling this fate. Though two first-party studios remain in the UK—London Studio and Media Molecule—it’s a sad story of Sony’s waning interest in developing games in the country. After the reveal of the PlayStation 5, the company is claimed to have made “dozens” of its European employees redundant. Sony Interactive Entertainment America directors visited the London offices to tell affected employees that shake-ups would lead to lay-offs, and it is also alleged that PlayStation EU was blindsided by the PlayStation 5 announcement.
In a statement supplied to GamesIndustry.biz, Sony said that the closure is “part of [its] efforts to improve efficiency and operational effectiveness.” The prevailing theory for these moves is that SIEA is now the frontrunner for the regional arms of PlayStation, in response to third-party publishers’ criticisms of the discontinuous corporate structure. SIE gave SIEA increasing influence over its global operations, and SIEE faces losses as a result. All employees at Manchester Studio have been made redundant, apparently, and fellow developers are already pooling their resources to offer new opportunities.