Meta Layoffs Affected Staff at Ready At Dawn VR Studio
Meta is embarking on its new round of major layoffs that will affect about 10,000 employees. This time, even staff at the company’s internal virtual reality studios have been affected.
According to a Business Insider report this week, Meta’s fresh round of layoffs is increasingly affecting the gaming-related projects in its Reality Labs division. In its last round of layoffs, Meta had maintained that its gaming-focused teams won’t be affected by the layoffs. It appears that will no longer be the case.
Among the affected studios is Ready At Dawn, behind the popular virtual reality title Lone Echo series, and Downpour Interactive which is behind the VR title Onward.
Zuckerberg had promised that April layoffs and hiring freeze would only affect the tech roles with the May layoffs affecting only the business roles. The layoffs are part of the company’s downsizing effort in what it has termed its “year of efficiency.”
Ready At Dawn’s Senior Engine Programmer Thomas Griebel tweeted that about 40 staff, roughly a third of the studio’s total headcount, had been laid off. Among them was the studio head Mark Almeida who has been with the studio since August 2016.
Meta acquired Ready At Dawn in 2020. In January this year, the studio announced that it was planning to shut down its popular free-to-play multiplayer title Echo VR. It also announced its plans to shut down the servers of the game by August 1st. Back then, Ready At Dawn said that it was shutting down the game “for many good reasons” with chief among them being “the studio coming together to focus” on its next project.
The layoffs have also affected Downpour Interactive, the studio behind the virtual reality mil-sim shooter Onward. The studio’s Producer Kaspar Nahuijsen described losing his colleagues in the latest round of layoffs as “the toughest day” of his career.
Today is the toughest day in my career
— KasperVld (@KasperVld) April 19, 2023
Downpour Interactive was founded in 2015 by Dante Buckley. Meta acquired it in 2021. Recently, the studio ported the PC VR-only Onward to Quest. However, with Meta now set to sunset the 2019 Quest headset, the studio recently announced that Onward would no longer be playable on the original Quest 1 headset from July 31st, 2023.
According to The Guardian, Meta’s latest round of layoffs will immediately affect 4,000 employees who form part of the 10,000 that Meta had announced earlier.