The Solana game developer behind the highly anticipated game Star Atlas, Automata, has revealed plans for a substantial headcount reduction. The company, which had a workforce of 235 employees in late 2022, will now comprise only 45 staff members after the restructuring.
Michael Wagner, CEO and co-founder of ATMTA, stated in the July 24 statement on Discord that the reorganized team will instead concentrate on “delivering SAGE and the recently announced Crew Mobile App.”
However, the development of the software development kit (SDK) that combines Unreal Engine 5 and Solana will experience a slowdown. The SDK serves as the foundation for the Star Atlas game.
Wagner explained that the project’s revenue challenges stem from approximately 33% of the revenue being held in the in-game Star Atlas (ATLAS) token, which has faced an 80% decline in value over the past year.
Additionally, the company had to address a tax liability of nearly $30 million and incurred losses of approximately $15 million from the treasury due to the collapse of FTX, significantly impacting their available funds.
Although a portion of the FTX funds was recovered in January, the company’s financial runway remains considerably reduced. As a result, it is unlikely for the project to finalize an equity and debt financing deal signed earlier.
Wagner candidly acknowledged that their current AAA-quality development pace is capital-intensive and unsustainable without a significant shift in business strategy.
In the midst of these challenges, the Solana blockchain has experienced an upswing in usage, with all-time high usage recorded in the first half of 2023. The network maintained 100% uptime during the second quarter, and the Solana Foundation introduced grants to bolster ecosystem support earlier in the year.
As Automata navigates these complexities, the company remains determined to pursue its vision for Star Atlas while adapting to the ever-evolving landscape of the gaming industry.