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.
Dish Network announced that it plans to close hundreds of Blockbuster stores in the next couple of weeks and expects to cut thousands of jobs as a result. The video and videogame rental company was bought by Dish in 2010 after the company went bankrupt. CNN Money reports that 300 stores will be closed in the United states and 3,000 jobs will be lost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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]
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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."