Epic Games, the Cary, North Carolina-based developer of popular games like "Fortnite" and "Gears of War," will lay off around 830 employees, roughly 16% of its total staff, according to an email that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney sent to staff members Thursday.
“For a while now, we’ve been spending way more money than we earn, investing in the next evolution of Epic and growing 'Fortnite' as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators,” Sweeney wrote. “I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic.”
In December, Epic told The News & Observer it had more than 1,000 employees report to its Cary headquarters. The company declined to share how many of this week’s cuts affected workers based in Cary.
In his email to employees Thursday, Sweeney said there would not be further job cuts, writing “these changes financially stabilize the business.”
Epic will also sell Bandcamp, a music distribution platform Epic acquired in March 2022, Sweeney wrote.
Still has eyes toward the metaverse
Sweeney cofounded Epic in 1991, and he is today among the wealthiest people in North Carolina. His company, one of the largest private video game developers, scored its biggest success in 2017 when it released "Fortnite." Set in a vibrant animated landscape, the battle royale game is played by millions of people globally at any given time.
On Thursday, Sweeney said the layoffs will not hinder the company’s development goals, highlighting that around two-thirds of the cuts “were in teams outside of core development.”
But he did say product delays could occur.
“Some of our products and initiatives will land on schedule, and some may not ship when planned because they are under-resourced for the time being,” he wrote.
In recent years, Epic has worked to offer customers experiences in the metaverse, a broad term for a network of immersive virtual spaces where users interact.
In April 2022, the "Fortnite" creator raised $2 billion between Sony and the Lego Group’s parent company Kirkbi, which Epic said would be used to build a kid-focused metaverse.
Despite citing the transition to the metaverse as a cause of this week’s cuts, Sweeney ended his email by expressing his goal to make Epic Games “a leading metaverse company.”
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