Steam Spy creator Sergiy Galyonkin, who has also spent the past six years serving as Epic Games' head of publishing strategy, has announced that he has left company. Galyonkin's departure comes just days after Epic confirmed significant layoffs at the company that put more than 800 people—16% of Epic's total headcount—out of work.
"Today is officially my last day at Epic Games," Galyonkin wrote in a post shared to Twitter. "These eight years have been some of the most exciting in my career, and I am deeply grateful to my former Epic Games colleagues and Tim Sweeney for allowing me to help build Epic 4.0."
I've always thought it was a little ironic that Galyonkin, the man behind Steam Spy—one of the most useful and popular Steam-related websites ever created—would end up working at Epic Games. He left his position as a senior analyst at Wargaming.net to become Epic's head of publishing for Eastern Europe in 2016, but just a year later moved up to director of publishing strategy, a position he's held until now. In the years following, he wrote, Epic launched Fortnite, "proved that free-to-play without pay-to-win can work at scale," and squared up to Steam with the Epic Games Store's more generous 88/12 revenue share. Galyonkin maintained Steam Spy through it all.
But apparently other things have changed in that time, too. "Now, Epic Games is on its way to transforming from a game developer, engine creator, and publisher into a platform—Epic 5.0," Galyonkin wrote. "I am not a good fit for this new version of Epic; it requires people of a different kind."
The references to Epic 4.0 and Epic 5.0 are a sort of internal measure of major company milestones. As this Polygon report from 2016 explains, Epic 2.0 began when the company connected with GT Interactive, the publisher of the original Unreal, while Epic 3.0 encompassed its partnership with Microsoft on the Gears of War games. Epic 4.0 began in 2012 when Tencent purchased roughly 40 percent of the company.
Epic 5.0 will presumably involve Epic's transformation into "a leading metaverse company," as Epic CEO Tim Sweeney described it in the layoff announcement last week. What exactly that means isn't clear: We said two years ago that the metaverse is bullshit, and frankly I don't think the situation has changed one iota since then. But Sweeney's singleminded pursuit of that goal has left Epic in a bad spot. Sweeney admitted when the layoffs were announced that Epic has "been spending way more money than we earn" as it's poured money into "the next evolution of Epic and growing Fortnite as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators."
It's not clear whether Galyonkin resigned from Epic voluntarily, or was caught up in the layoffs: To my reading, the statement suggests a resignation, but it's impossible to overlook the timing. Either way, Galyonkin said he plans to stay in the gaming industry: "I also hope to be more vocal now that I don't have to worry about the PR department knocking on my DMs."
I've reached out to Epic for clarification on Galyonkin's departure and will update if I receive a reply.