Sad news broke this week that the GoPro Karma drone is dead. GoPro will be ending production of its Karma drone line after poor sales and a struggle to keep up with competition. The Karma was only released 2 years ago back in October 2016 and was rivalled as a competitor to DJI’s lineup of drones. Unfortunately for GoPro, DJI hit back immediately in the form of the Mavic Pro capitalising on sales while the Karma stalled to launch.
The Mavic Pro destroyed the Karma drone in terms of technical specs but the removable camera and Karma Grip bundled in to the shooting ecosystem kept GoPro fans interested. Unfortunately shortly after launch Karma drones literally started falling out of the sky due to faulty battery connections. GoPro then had to follow up with a product recall for the Karma. Then while GoPro were weakened by the battery issues of the Karma they were served a knockout blow in the form of the DJI Spark. Just before the news of the death of the Karma drone they did announce a well received tracking feature. Ironically this missing feature was one of the main reasons people didn’t buy in to the product in the first place.
The company are now rumoured to be laying off upwards of 250 staff around the Karma product division. GoPro touched on it in a press release containing this
“any inability to anticipate consumer preferences and successfully develop and market desirable products; the risks associated with the exiting from the consumer drone market; the effects of the highly competitive market in which we operate; the fact that we may not be able to achieve revenue growth or profitability in the future;”
Its sad to see GoPro leave the drone market, but its a tough market right now and other big companies like Parrot have also been hit hard. Hopefully we will continue to see companies enter and innovate in the drone market so DJI are not left to capitalise on the market and let it stagnate.