Epic Games lays off 830 staff, citing ‘unrealistic’ metaverse ambitions

Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, has slashed 16% of its workforce — approximately 830 staff — after unrealistic expectations of metaverse-inspired revenue caused it to spend “way more” money than it had been earning.

“We concluded that layoffs are the only way and that doing them now and on this scale will stabilize our finances,” wrote CEO Tim Sweeney in a Sept. 29 memo sent to Epic Games staff.

“I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect, I see that this was unrealistic,” Sweeney added.

While Sweeney credited the company’s recent growth to the Fortnite Creator program, which allows players to build and sell their own content in-game for a 40% cut, the shift has resulted in lower margins.

“Success with the creator ecosystem is a great achievement, but it means a major structural change to our economics.”

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In addition to the aforementioned layoffs, Sweeney said another 250 employees would also be leaving Epic Games, as the company announced it would be selling the recently acquired music website Bandcamp and spinning off its marketing company SuperAwesome, a child-safety tech firm that joined Epic in 2020.

Notably, soon-to-be-former employees of Epic Games will be offered six months of pay, and those residing in the United States, Canada and Brazil can expect six months of paid healthcare as well.

Aside from Fortnite, which boasts some 400 million registered users, Epic Games also runs the Unreal Engine. The video game development suite powers titles such as God of War and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

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