Alongside our daily news coverage, features and interviews, Verdict’s news team sifts through the week’s most intriguing data sets to bring you a roundup of the week in numbers. 

This week we saw GTA 6 maker Two-Two announce job cuts, France’s Mistral AI seeking funding at a $5bn (€4.69bn) valuation and Meta set out plans to bring VR headsets and the metaverse into classrooms.

Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two to cut workforce by 5%

GTA publisher Take-Two Interactive Software will lay off around five percent of its workforce, the company announced on Tuesday (16 April).

The move comes as the gaming industry continues a two-year period of layoffs following the pandemic. 

The GTA maker also announced it will be halting development of several projects in order to save costs. The cuts are expected to result in more than $165m of annual savings, the company said. 

The plans mirror those of other leading gaming companies including Sony, EA and Riot Games, which all announced plans to cut their workforce amid a slowdown in consumer spending.

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Once seen as recession-proof, the video gaming industry has seen a decrease in user growth following the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022.

The industry was also hindered by rising inflation, which led to a decrease in customer spending. Semiconductor shortages also led to a slowdown in the supply of gaming consoles.

Console and personal computing gaming revenue is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2026, according to gaming research company Newzoo.

Rockstar and parent company Take-Two have been focused on the development of the highly anticipated GTA 6.

However, the company’s stocks slumped last month when it was reported that the title could be delayed beyond its 2025 release window.

A 2018 report from MarketWatch named the previous game in the series the “most financially successful media title of all time”.

The news comes as the value of gaming deals in the US plummeted in 2023, according to GlobalData's deal database.

In 2023, the total value of gaming deals totalled $14.3bn, a significant decrease from the prior year, which saw deals total $135.9bn.

France’s Mistral AI seeks funding at $5bn valuation

French start-up Mistral AI has been in talks with investors about raising several hundred million dollars at a valuation of $5bn.

The reported talks come just a few months after Microsoft invested $16m in Mistral and implemented the company’s AI models through its Azure cloud computing platform.

Microsoft and Mistral’s partnership was criticised by EU lawmakers calling for an investigation into whether it was anti-competitive.

It is not clear which investors Mistral has spoken to about the new funding round, the Information reported, citing someone familiar with the matter. 

Mistral AI was founded in 2023 by former Meta and Google DeepMind employees. The France-based company specialises in open-source large language models.

The news comes as the value of deals in France increased significantly in 2023, almost doubling from the year prior, according to GlobalData's deals database.

The value of AI deals totalled $312m in 2023 compared with just $182m in 2022.

The value of global AI deals totalled $331bn throughout 2023, an increase from $211bn in 2022, according to GlobalData’s deals database.

Meta plans to bring VR headsets and the metaverse into classrooms

Meta is looking to bring its VR headset and the metaverse into classrooms for students as young as 13 years old, as the Facebook parent company prepares to launch its new education product.

The US company recently announced a new package for schools, which would include VR and augmented reality (AR) to aid in learning, allowing teachers to programme and control multiple VR headsets at once.

Students aged 13 and over will be able to use the VR and AR headsets to enter the metaverse in their classrooms, visiting interactive museums and exploring 3D environments specifically designed for learning.

The tech giant’s planned move into education is the latest attempt to revamp its VR and AR business. 

Meta, which rebranded itself to focus heavily on the metaverse in 2021, has seen underwhelming progress in this area.

Meta’s Reality Labs division, which handles all of the VR technology, reported a $4.28bn loss in the fourth quarter of 2022, bringing its total loss to more than $13bn in 2022.

The news comes as the value of UK VR deals dropped significantly in 2023 after peaking the year prior, according to GlobalData's deals database.

In 2022, the value of VR deals in the UK totalled $95m £76.33m), a significant increase over 2021, which saw deals total $28m.

However, in 2023, the total value of VR deals in the country fell to $31m.