Snap Lays Off 20% of Staff, Increases Long-term Focus on Augmented Reality – Road to VR

Snap Inc, the company behind Snapchat, announced it’s laying off a fifth of its staff and abandoning a number of projects as it bids to rebound with a more singular focus on becoming a leader in augmented reality in the future.

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, says in a blog post it’s laying off 20 percent of its 6,400 employees, or around 1,300 people dispersed across multiple teams.

The company says it’s increasing focus on three specific areas: community growth, revenue growth, and augmented reality.

“Projects that don’t directly contribute to these areas will be discontinued or receive substantially reduced investment,” said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.

Snap says it’s abandoning a number of projects, including Snap Originals, Minis, Games,  Zenly, Voisey, and also its recently launched mini drone Pixy.

Image courtesy Snap

In a slide available to investors, Snap says its continuing to invest in the future of AR, highlighting its main app Snapchat, its Camera Kit AR software development kit, and its Spectacles AR glasses platform.

As a part of the shakeup, the company says it’s narrowing its investment scope in Spectacles to focus on “highly differentiated long-term research and development efforts.”

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Unveiled in mid-2021, Snap’s 4th generation Spectacles glasses are the company’s first to include a display for real-time AR. The glasses are being positioned as a development kit for creators to start building immersive AR apps and experiences, a departure from Snap’s previous three generation of consumer-focused Spectacles which only featured onboard cameras.

In the meantime, the company has made strategic acquisitions in both AR display startup WaveOptics and brain-computer interface (BCI) startup NextMind. At the time of this writing it’s unclear whether these teams will be affected by the layoffs.