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PopCap, THQ and Funcom hit with layoffs

It's been a fairly dark day for the video game industry today as three major companies have announced layoffs affecting dozens of people. 

First it was revealed that layoffs have hit EA's PopCap casual gaming imprint with 50 employees reportedly (not official numbers yet) fired at the Seattle studio with the Dublin and Shanghai studios also being sized up for potential cuts as well. Specific numbers are not currently available. PopCap Co-founder John Vechey has posted a word about the layoffs on the PopCap website which can be viewed here.

Funcom, the developer behind The Secret World and Age of Conan also revealed layoffs today though they were not willing to reveal specifics. They have merely said that measures are being taken to reduce the operating cost of The Secret World using temporary layoffs and "other measures." Finally, THQ has also laid off about twenty people from its marketing department. 

The barrage of layoffs comes just days after OnLive was folded into a new corporation, leaving behind a huge amount of its original staff.

Topics

Funcom PopCap THQ

8 comments

  • FoxdenRacing - August 22, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    Stay strong, devs...my sympathies, and most everyone's sympathies, go out to you. This 2-3 years of pain are not a reflection of your ability to make great games. It's not a reflection of you at all. The clock has struck midnight on the current mega-blockbuster, mega-budget, wring-every-penny-out-of-everyone business model. In truth, it struck midnight a year to a year and a half ago, when THQ started to nosedive. The bell has been tolling its hollow, dreadful, and blood-freezing ring once every few months since, and will chime its dozenth chime when the last big publisher either collapses or figures out that their business model is the single biggest problem...not the employees, not the projects, not the gamers. (Yes, there are other problems, such as certain retailers turning parasitic in their own shortsighted, shameless cash grabs) But that's not to say all hope is lost. There's still a place in the world for traditional publishing, but the landscape has changed. 2K is doing it right. Atlus is doing it right. Valve is doing it right. It can be done, but the age of 'wipe your butt on a disc and sell a million copies' is over. The age of spending one's way to record-setting profits is over. The age of leveraged game production...gambling that game X will be a blockbuster, and cover for games Y, Z, and A that all broke even (or worse) is over. The age of hiding a game's true total cost of ownership behind a mountain of cut-to-be-sold-later DLC is ending (Before anyone goes there, yes, I'm aware not all DLC operates that way...and I have no issues whatsoever with DLC being the logical evolution of the expansion pack). The age of game companies being run by outsiders, run by fast-food and cleaning chemical executives that can't be bothered to take the time to understand the culture of gaming, is ending. The proof is in the alternatives. Indies are flourishing. Professional companies making simpler, low-budget games are raking in the cash. Traditionally-published games putting more emphasis on quality than bullet-points for the box are becoming a new generation's cult hits and cultural mainstays, and projects not blinded by greed are blasting every sales projection out of the water. And that's without even mentioning F2P, which I have a love-hate relationship with. It could completely revolutionize the subscription MMO segment, but is content to rest on its laurels and try to be something it's not...collectible <figures, cards, whatever> games where he who has the most cash to burn wins. It could be so much more, and could completely relegate '$X per month' MMOs to antiquity.
  • LordZarlon - August 21, 2012 3:52 p.m.

    When are independent developers going to learn that it NEVER pays off to sell out to EA! You will get laid off and your doors will be shuttered! Yes, I know, EA didn't close down PopCap but this is just the beginning.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - August 21, 2012 6:08 p.m.

    The same goes for Activision.
  • Mcdeeman21 - August 21, 2012 6:34 p.m.

    Activision is basically the grim reaper of small companies
  • shawksta - August 21, 2012 1:59 p.m.

    Well thats just nice, Plants vs Zombies 2 was just announced Yesterday and now Popcap gets Laid off!? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
  • Redeater - August 21, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    I'm really hoping sales for Darksiders 2 hold strong. It would be a shame for any publisher to go under after they have given us gems like Saint's Row, Red Faction and Darksiders. (Seriously, I don't understand the hate behind 3. It was one of the funnest games I have ever played.)
  • Redeater - August 21, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    *Saint's Row 3 that is. Damn lack of edit button.
  • Andrew Groen - August 21, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    Awesome to see you give credit to Red Faction. Totally forgotten series after Armageddon flopped. But my GOD Guerrilla was absolutely amazing.

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