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Game developer Solana Automata (ATMTA) will undergo a “significant layoff” to maintain its ability to develop Star Atlas. After the restructuring, the Automata team will consist of only 45 employees, compared to 235 at the end of 2022.
According to a July 24 Discord announcement, Michael Wagner, CEO and co-founder of ATMTA, said the restructured team would instead shift its focus to “providing SAGE and the recently announced Crew mobile app.” Meanwhile, development of a software development kit (SDK) integrating Unreal Engine 5 and Solana “will resume at a significantly slower pace.” The SDK serves as the basis for the Star Atlas game.
Explaining the changes, Wagner wrote that roughly 33% of the project’s revenue was taken in the form of the in-game Atlas token, which the team “held unwaveringly.” Over the past year, the token has lost approximately 80% of its value. Besides:
“We also had to pay a significant tax liability of about $30 million. And, as many of you already know, we lost about $15 million of our treasury due to the collapse of FTX, which was a significant part of our liquid cash balance.”
Developers said the team was able to return a “significant portion” of FTX funds in January, but the runway remains “significantly shortened”. Wagner also said it was “unlikely” for the project to complete the equity and debt financing deal signed in January.
“It is a harsh truth that our current high rate of AAA quality development is capital intensive and currently unsustainable without a significant change in business strategy.”
At the same time, the Solana blockchain recorded an all-time high usage rate in the first half of 2023. The network had 100% uptime in the second quarter. Earlier this year, the Solana Foundation introduced grants to support the ecosystem.