On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Magic Leap, the much-hyped augmented reality (ar) startup, laid off 1,000 employees — around half its workforce. The company’s CEO Rony Abovitz confirmed the restructuring in a blog post, but didn’t specify the number of layoffs. Having spoken to a Magic Leap employee, who requested anonymity, Cartoon Brew can report that 80–120 animation jobs were lost.
Abovitz founded the company in 2010 in Plantation, Florida. For years, it secretively developed its flagship product, the Magic Leap One ar headset, while amassing over $2 billion from major investors like AT&T and Alphabet. The $2,300 headset was unveiled in 2017 and essentially marketed as an entertainment system for the general public, complete with games and other creative apps.
In his post, Abovitz explains that the company is shutting its consumer business to focus on “the enterprise side.” He ascribes the pivot to the coronavirus crisis, but Bloomberg notes that the Magic Leap One was already a relative failure: “[The] company had already started to shift its strategy to selling its products to large companies in the healthcare, industrial, and financial sectors after slower-than-expected consumer adoption of the headset it developed.” Dozens of employees were laid off late last year, according to a report in The Information.