Gas Powered Games Hit By Layoffs, Company's Future Relies Heavily on Wildman Kickstarter Success

January 19, 2013 -

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.

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UK Retailer HMV Goes Into Administration

January 15, 2013 -

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.

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Funcom Moves Forward With Restructuring Despite Success with The Secret World Free-to-Play Changes

January 11, 2013 -

Even though Funcom's The Secret World MMO found success after switching from a monthly subscription fee to a free-to-play payment model (more than 70,000 copies of the game were sold in the last four weeks, according to Eurogamer), the company is still forced to move ahead with restructuring, according to Develop.

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Zynga Japan Shutting Down

December 24, 2012 -

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said way back in October that the company would be shutting down its Japanese-based studio Zynga Japan as part of a company-wide cost reduction plan and today that closure is a reality. According to a Facebook post by Zynga Japan CEO Kenji Matsubara, the studio is being closed and three of its games are being turned off. Matsubara posted a personal message thanking fans for their support and announcing the discontinuation of the games that were available in Japan.

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Layoffs Hit Square Enix's Los Angeles Offices

December 17, 2012 -

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:

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UK Retailer Comet to Close All Stores, Lay Off 6,600 Employees

December 17, 2012 -

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.

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Report: Richard Garriott's Portalarium Lays Off An Undetermined Number of Employees

December 17, 2012 -

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."

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Trion Worlds Confirms Layoffs, But Does Not Disclose Numbers

December 12, 2012 -

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.

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Layoffs Hit OpenFeint Owner GREE

December 7, 2012 -

Mobile games publisher and developer GREE has laid off 25 employees today. The layoffs are directly tied to the shut down of its mobile social gaming platform, OpenFeint.

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Eurocom Enters into Administration, Lays Off Remaining Staff

December 7, 2012 -

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:

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Report: Layoffs Hit NCsoft's Seattle Studio

December 5, 2012 -

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.

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Report: Layoffs Hit End of Nations Developer, Game Put on Hold

December 5, 2012 -

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:

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Report: Eurocom Laying Off Most of its Workforce

November 23, 2012 -

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.

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Activision Cuts 30 Jobs at Minneapolis Office

October 31, 2012 -

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.

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Ghost Recon Commander Cancelled, Staff Laid Off

October 30, 2012 -

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.

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Sulake Plans New Direction for Habbo Hotel, Will Cut 60 Employees

October 30, 2012 -

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.

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Report: As Few as Five Developers Remain at Silicon Knights

October 30, 2012 -

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.

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WBIE Lays Off Some Staff at Turbine Games

October 25, 2012 -

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) has laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its Turbine Games studio in Boston, Massachusetts. The company laid off these employees even as it hired several veteran game developers including designer Ken Rolston (who was previously working for Big Huge Games- a company owned by 38 Studios.)

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Mass Layoffs and Possible Closures at Zynga

October 23, 2012 -

UPDATE: IGN has obtained a memo from Zynga CEO Mark Pincus that confirms the company has laid off 5% of its workforce.  In addition, the Boston studio will be closed and 13 of its older titles will be discontinued.

Read the full memo at IGN.  [Disclosure: I freelance for IGN]

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Microsoft Lays Off 'Less Than Ten Percent' of Staff at Lionhead

October 16, 2012 -

Microsoft has laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its Lionhead studio, following the completion of the studios' latest game, the Kinect-enabled Fable: The Journey. While the company did not disclose the exact number of employees now out of a job, they suggested that it was a little under ten percent of the studio's work force. Lionhead is located in Guildford, England.

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Foundation 9 Closes ImaginEngine Studio

October 15, 2012 -

On Friday Foundation 9 Entertainment shut down its ImaginEngine game studio and laid off its entire staff - including studio head Randall Sanborn... An estimated 25 employees were also laid off, according to this GamesBeat report. The ImaginEngine layoffs and studio closure follows the layoff at another Foundation 9 studio - Backbone Entertainment.

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THQ to Close Melbourne, Australia Operations

October 10, 2012 -

THQ announced this morning that it plans to close its Melbourne, Australia office - also known as THQ Australia - within a few months. THQ has already dismissed staff from its Melbourne office, according to multiple reports. The company will instead distribute its products within the region through All Interactive Entertainment (AIE).

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EA Closes PopCap Office in Dublin, Ireland, Lays off Entire Staff

September 24, 2012 -

MCV has confirmed with parent company electronic Arts that the publisher has closed its Dublin, Ireland PopCap Games office and laid off its entire staff. The news comes on the heels of 50 layoffs last month at its PopCap Seattle office and an unspecified number of employees let go from its Irish operations.

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Sony Consolidates PR Operations, Trims Personnel

September 20, 2012 -

Sony Computer Entertainment has let a number of its employees in its marketing department go after doing a little shuffling of the personal deck, according to a Games Industry International report. After consolidating all of its public relations operations within the company, Sony decided that all future PR work would be handled by its Foster City headquarters.

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Funcom Denies Reports that a 'Majority' of its Oslo Studio Has Been Laid Off

September 14, 2012 -

MMO developer Funcom insists that it has laid off just fewer than 50 percent of its staff at its Oslo, Norway studio, despite reports that the number of layoffs is higher. The company revealed late last month that it would be focusing on games that had shorter development times built by smaller teams. The move was a reaction to poor performance of its latest MMORPG, The Secret World.

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NCsoft Closing Paragon Studios, Sunsetting City of Heroes

September 3, 2012 -

NCsoft has decided to shut down its Paragon Studio and the continued development of its long-running super-hero-based MMO City of Heroes. The company said in a blog post on August 31 that it would halt all future development on the title, putting its focus on "sunsetting the title by the year's end."

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EA Calls PopCap Games Layoffs Part of a Shift Away From Social

August 30, 2012 -

Speaking to Bloomberg, President of EA Labels Frank Gibeau commented on the layoffs at Peggle and Plants v. Zombies developer PopCap Games. Gibeau said that the main reason for the cuts was to make the studio more efficient and part of a move away from social game development.

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Report: Microsoft Recruiting Former OnLive Employees

August 27, 2012 -

Microsoft is looking to snap up some of OnLive's former employees, according to this report from GamesIndustry International. While the company was rumored to be interested in buying the cloud-based streaming game subscription service many moons ago, it looks like the Xbox 360 maker is picking the bones. The company is using EventBrite as its recruitment vehicle of choice, posting the following message:

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Report: THQ Lays Off Some 'Non-Development Staff'

August 22, 2012 -

While THQ's layoffs announced this week pale in comparison to OnLive's last week or reductions in staff at PopCap and the outright closure of Studio Liverpool, a layoff is a layoff and it doesn't matter if you are one of one-hundred or one of ten affected.

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Sony Closes Studio Liverpool

August 22, 2012 -

Joining PopCap and Funcom (and last week OnLive) workers on the unemployment lines this week are employees of Sony's Studio Liverpool. The studio responsible for the classic Wipeout series and Colony Wars, has been closed as part of Sony's plan to re-focus its resources and energy on other studios. The company said in a statement that SCE Worldwide Studio performs regular reviews of its internal studios. After its latest review of the Liverpool studio, it decided to shut it down.

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Andrew EisenYes, the Wii U upscales but rendering in a higher resolution looks a hell of a lot better.08/01/2014 - 10:35pm
Andrew EisenIt's pretty. Lots of videos of it floating around. Just search "Xenoblade dolphin" and you'll find them.08/01/2014 - 10:32pm
ZippyDSMleeThe WII upscales tho. Matthew: It might be becue cartoonish desings do not age as fast as presudo realisim.08/01/2014 - 10:29pm
Matthew WilsonPeople who have run the Mario Galaxy games on a emulator have said they look better then most xb1/ps4 games when upscaled, so it would be interesting to see a upscaled version of Xenoblade08/01/2014 - 9:24pm
Andrew EisenHeck, it would probably sell better to newbies anyway. Even with its awesome art direction, the game looked dated when it came out years ago. I imagine an SD version would be a tougher sell.08/01/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenBecause it would be cool, would serve the game's fantastic art direction well and encourage people who've already played it to buy it again.08/01/2014 - 7:42pm
ZippyDSMleeWhy bother with an HD relese just repack the damn thing and promote it since it will play on the WIIU anyway....08/01/2014 - 7:04pm
Andrew EisenPlus, with Nintendo carrying the Wii U almost all by itself, it could help plug one of the unfortunately inevitable release schedule gaps.08/01/2014 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenAn HD re-release would be cool though. It's a great game (and quite the looker, especially when up-rezzed) and more people should play it (the game had a limited release at a time when the Wii was all but dead an buried).08/01/2014 - 3:21pm
E. Zachary KnightSo no, people are not going to need to play the Wii game to undstand or enjoy the Wii U game.08/01/2014 - 1:27pm
E. Zachary KnightFrom what I understand, the two games have as much to do with eachother as Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy 2.08/01/2014 - 1:26pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's my secret hope that Nintendo announces Xenoblade HD to be released in the leadup to Xenoblade Chronicles X, or at least a mass market version of the first game so that people aren't going into this one blind.08/01/2014 - 12:40pm
PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
 

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