It’s always a sad day when a virtual reality (VR) closes its doors, yet no company is ever totally immune. VRFocus has seen it happen with Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) Guerrilla Cambridge in January 2017 and Oculus Story Studio a few months later. This week another VR company has ceased to be, Viacom Next, the VR division which spear headed several unique and novel experiences.
Viacom Next was well known through various projects over the last few years, having worked with two-time GRAMMY Award winning artist William Patrick Corgan (aka Billy Corgan) on an VR experience for his new single Aeronaut, Withdrawal by Atlantic Records recording artist Max Frost, The Melody of Dust by Hot Sugar, and Smash Party VR for HTC Vive in conjunction with Titmouse and many more.
The closure was first announced by the studios creative director David Liu on Twitter, with Liu saying: “Sad to say that Viacom NEXT is no more. Our super talented devs, artists and designers are looking for a new home if you’re hiring. Please DM me.”
Then a spokesperson issued the following statement reports Variety: “We remain deeply committed to developing immersive experiences for consumers through groundbreaking augmented and virtual reality. As part of our efforts to coordinate Viacom’s approach to next-generation platforms and solutions across our brands, we are absorbing Viacom NEXT into our Global Emerging Opportunities Group. A number of Viacom NEXT’s creators and engineers will join this group, however a small number of employee positions have been affected. We appreciate these colleagues’ contributions and are making every effort to assist them through benefits and support, including severance and outplacement assistance.”
It’s all part of a cost cutting move by Viacom, which has seen almost 100 employees laid off across multiple divisions.
Check out some of the experiences mentioned to see the legacy Viacom Next leaves behind, and if Viacom does plan on supporting VR in the future, VRFocus will let you know.