VR MMO ‘Zenith’ Could Be in Dire Straits as Studio Operates at a Loss

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Zenith: The Last City stands out as one of VR’s major MMORPG success stories, having been released in 2022 across all major headsets and receiving generally high praise. However, developers Ramen VR now reveal the studio has been operating at a loss for the past year, raising questions about its sustainability and the future of Zenith.

Ramen VR CEO and cofounder Andy Tsen released a developer blogpost wherein they outline the reasons for Zenith’s upcoming overhaul, which they describe as “a massive 2.0 update.” In short, the studio is fighting for its life.

“Understand that while Zenith was initially very profitable, we’ve been running it at a loss on a month to month basis for the better part of a year,” Tsen says in the post. “For two years the team has tried everything we could to get us back into profitability or user growth, but it just hasn’t panned out.”

There are big changes coming, but it’s uncertain what that entails at this point. In a separate post in late December, Ramen VR announced it would be launching a closed alpha of its 2.0 update, which is covered by non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

“Our goal with the next update is to introduce some big changes to try to make our beloved world a sustainable development project,” Tsen continues. “We don’t believe that just polishing, fixing bugs, and adding content would lead to profitability.”

Tsen concludes it ultimately came down to a choice between making fundamental changes to the game, or pulling the plug entirely, hence the 2.0 update.

Zenith: The Last City celebrated a successful Kickstarter in 2019, giving the ambitious anime-inspired MMO a relatively small amount of cash to start what would become a suitably large project—as MMOs typically are as a rule. Shortly afterwards, the studio closed a $10 million Series A funding round, a first big step to generating the sort of scale the project hoped to achieve.

And investors were suitably impressed with the game’s direction, enough to return with a $35 million Series B in March 2022, only two months after it launched on PSVR, Quest, SteamVR and Rift headsets. Since then, the studio has released a number of large content updates which has doubled the amount of content in the game.