A game tester who worked for a Sony Computer Entertainment Europe studio in the United Kingdom has been paid £4,600 for helping to test Killzone: Mercenary for three months in 2012. The payout is the result of a settlement between SCEE and tester Chris Jarvis, who claimed that he had to work nine-hour-days at Guerrilla Cambridge as an intern.
According to this Reuters report, the Taiwanese company Pegatron Corp. is being accused of forced overtime, low wages and the use of underage workers. Pegatron is one of several companies that works in Apple's supply chain for various iOS devices. So who is accusing the company of such horrendous practices?
The Vancouver-based development studio that created Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City and SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 has instituted temporary layoffs, according to GamesIndustry International. Speaking to GII a representative for Slant Six Games said that it had to reduce operating cost in the short term and that it hopes to hire back as many employees as it can sometime later on down the road:
Electronic Arts has laid off a number of employees at its Montreal-based mobile game development studio, according to a Polygon report. The company says that these layoffs are part of an overall strategy to streamline operations, though the mobile studio seems to have been impacted the hardest in this latest round of job cuts. No word on whether EA is cutting jobs elsewhere.
Sega has confirmed with Kotaku that it plans to close its Brisbane-based development studio later this year. Sega said that it would close Sega Studios Australia later this year, but gave no particular reason for shutting down the operation.
The publisher says it will shut down Sega Studios Australia later this year; no rationale provided.
Activision has confirmed with GameSpot that it has laid off around 40 full-time High Moon Studios employees following the completion of Deadpool. High Moon Studios is best known for Deadpool and Transformers.
Deloitte, the administrator handling HMV's UK-based business, has identified 66 HMV stores that will be closed in the next two months, according to a Eurogamer report. These retail store closures will affect 930 employees, the firm announced.
UK Retailer HMV has cut 190 jobs across the board, according to administrator Deloitte. Earlier reports had pegged the layoffs at 60, but the group overseeing the retailer's administration later confirmed the larger number. Most notably HMV’s head of technology and games Ewan Pinder was given a pink slip today. The 60 workers who lost jobs were apparently from HMV's head office in the UK.
Sony has confirmed with IGN that PlayStation All-Stars developer SuperBot has laid off a number of its staff. An SCEA spokesperson told the publication that work would continue on PlayStation All-Stars DLC to be released in the next few months despite the smaller staff at the studio. Sony did not confirm just how much of the staff had been laid off.
Secret World and Age of Conan developer Funcom continues to tighten its belt as part of a restructuring plan it announced last year. Today the company announced that it has closed its Beijing studio and laid off staff in its Canadian and U.S. offices. The Beijing studio was responsible for creating the art and animation for the company's Secret World MMO. Responsibilities of the Beijing studio will be moved to Funcom's U.S. offices. Despite a heavier workload Funcom also reduced the workforce at the Raleigh, North Carolina-based office.
After multiple reports from various sources revealed that a majority of the staff at Gas Powered Games had been laid off, Chris Taylor took to the Internet to comment. Apparently Taylor and a few employees are the only ones left at the studio behind such titles as the Dungeon Siege series, Demigod, and Supreme Commander. Recently Taylor and company launched a Kickstarter for a new game called Wildman but concerns over its early performance cause Gas Powered Games, who is short on cash, to lay off its staff.
UK retailer HMV will enter into administration on Tuesday, the company announced. The move to administration (the European equivalent of bankruptcy here in the U.S.) comes after major suppliers like Universal Music, EMI, Warner Brothers and Disney refused to provide further financing needed for the retailer to continue trading. The company has turned to Deloitte as its administrators after lackluster Christmas sales made the retailer unable to secure terms on various loans. If things go badly it could mean the loss of an estimated 4,500 jobs and the possible closure of over 200 stores.
According to this Massively report, Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix has laid off an undetermined number of employees at its Los Angeles offices. The report is based on a number of anonymous tips - which presumably are being attributed to either current or former Square Enix employees that are close to the situation.
Square Enix later confirmed that something was going on with the company by issuing an official statement:
The end has finally come for UK retailer Comet, as it prepares to close the doors of all its stores in the region on Tuesday. Administrator Deloitte has confirmed to MCV that all of the remaining Comet retail stores will close their doors tomorrow (December 18th). Many of its stores closed for good over the weekend. This shutdown of its operations will result in the loss of an estimated 6,600 jobs just days before the Christmas Holiday.
Richard Garriott's Austin, Texas-based social game development studio Portalarium has laid off an unknown number of employees, according to published reports. News of the layoffs surfaced on Friday via Twitter when Portalarium senior programmer Paul Evans tweeted the following:
"Today [Portalarium] had to lay off people and I was one of them."
GamesIndustry International is reporting that MMO developer and publisher Trion World has confirmed that an undisclosed number of developers have been laid off at the company. The news of the layoffs surfaced on Twitter with one tweet noting the firing of 30 people at Trion's San Francisco office. Later an affected source told Gamasutra that the layoffs were primarily at Trion's Rift development team. Trion Worlds later confirmed the layoffs, but would not reveal specific numbers.
Eurocom has entered administration and ceased trading, with the remaining staff laid off, according to a statement from administrators given to Eurogamer. Last month the studio was forced to let a large portion of its staff go. Eurocom most recently developed 007 Legends for Activision. Today a statement from administrators revealed just how bad the financial situation is for the company:
According to what NCSoft PR director tells PC Gamer, the company has laid of an undisclosed number of employees at its Seattle office. That office is responsible for Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 publisher NCsoft has laid off several staff as part of a studio "realignment," it has confirmed. Davis confirmed to PC Gamer that it has laid off "several" staff members, but did not reveal specific numbers.
Update: End of Nations publisher Trion Worlds passed along an official statement on the current state of the game posted earlier today on its Facebook page. You can read the statement below in its entirety:
007 Legends maker Eurocom has been forced to lay off an estimated 150 of its 200 employee strong workforce, according to a report from GamesIndustry International. A statement from Eurocom studio director Hugh Binns to the publication confirms the number and a drastic restructuring of the company.
Activision has confirmed that it has eliminated 30 full-time positions at its Minneapolis office. The Minneapolis Minnesota office was mostly recently responsible for licensed titles such as the Cabela hunting games. The reduction in staff is due to Activision's new strategy for 2013 which will offer substantially fewer licensed titles in 2013.
Brenda Romero of Loot Drop confirmed that Ubisoft has cancelled her strategy-based Facebook game Ghost Recon Commander. The social game spin-off launched on Facebook in May, but didn't quite get the kind of response Ubisoft wanted. Along with the cancelation of the game, Brenda Romero also revealed that the development team working on the game had been laid off.
"Sad news. Today, Ghost Recon Commander was cancelled. As a result, we laid off a team of kick-ass developers. If you have openings, ping me," she tweeted.
After dealing with a child sex scandal earlier this year, Sulake - the owners of the social teen hangout Habbo Hotel - had to make some serious changes and win back the trust of the community. With that controversy mostly behind them (the company changed much of how it handles communications within the virtual world and added other features that protect its young members), the company says that it wants to make Habbo Hotel a place where third-party developers can launch their own game titles.
An extensive report over at Kotaku claims that the offices of developer Silicon Knights has become a ghost town, with less than five employees remaining at the company. Citing multiple sources who worked at the company, the report claims that the studio was playing fast and loose with the funding of X-Men: Destiny coming from Activision, while secretly working on an Eternal Darkness 2 demo to pitch to publishers.
It looks like Foxconn is going to "take one for the team" in the controversy over under-age interns working at its factory in Yantai, China. This is the plant where Nintendo's Wii U is reportedly being put together, so Nintendo is very concerned about any public perceptions that it finds breaking China's labor laws concerning under-age workers acceptable.
Next month the "Six Strikes" system to deal with online piracy and illegal file-sharing will be fully operational in the United States. The new rules - mutually agreed on by several major ISP's and trade groups representing intellectual property holders (the RIAA, and the MPAA) required that copyright infringement claims be investigated by an external company. This was one of the sticking points for ISPs and rightsholders seemed to happily comply.
Earlier this week we reported that Foxconn - the company that helps build many of the products that are popular in the West from companies like Apple, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft and Nintendo - reported that it found underage interns working in one of its plants in Yantai, China. Today we have learned that that plant is responsible for assembling Nintendo products.
The Associated Press (by way of syndication in the pages of Time's Techland) reports that China-based electronics manufacturer Foxconn has admitted that underage workers are part of its massive work force in the country. Foxconn, which has had a hard time this month keeping production flowing at its plants due to riots and labor disputes, assembles a variety of electronics for Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and others.