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Virtual Worlds Startup High Fidelity Lays Off 25% of Staff, Pivots to Enterprise Communication

May 08, 2019 / JANKO ROETTGERS

High Fidelity, the virtual worlds startup led by Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, laid off 20 staffers, or about 25% of its staff, this week. Rosedale said in a blog post that the company was changing course to focus on enterprise communication, and blamed lower-than-expected VR headset adoption for the decision.“If you had asked me when we started the company in 2014, I’d have said that by now there would be several million people using (VR headsets) daily, and we’d be competing with both big and small companies to provide the best platform—but I was wrong,” Rosedale wrote.“Daily headset use is only in the tens of thousands, almost all for entertainment and media consumption, with very little in the way of general communication, work, or education,” he added. High Fidelity launched as a kind of VR-based successor to Second Life in 2016. The company pitched its platform as open and decentralized, giving artists and others a chance to create...