The gaming industry is far from immune from troubling economic struggles. The most recent instance of studio downsizing comes from the Warner Bros Entertainment owned developer, Turbine Inc. Responsible for free-to-play MMO titles such as Dungeons and Dragons Online and the popular Lord of the Rings Online, the Boston-based studio was said to have terminated a handful of its approximately 400 employees.
While specific numbers were not released, the layoff (strangely) comes only shortly after the company decided to hire a slew of high-profile employees. In a statement to GameIndustry International regarding the change-up, one representative stated, “As part of the continual review of our business operations and fluctuating market conditions, we have had to make reductions in our Turbine workforce. The group continues to remain an integral part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.”
The developers are most recently responsible for the major update to The Lord of the Rings Online, Riders of Rohan.
Interestingly enough, Turbine Inc. is only following suit in something that is quickly becoming an unfortunate trend for the industry. Popular Facebook/mobile game developer Zynga, and German company Bigpoint have also recently enacted similar measures to cope with economic struggles.
Bigpoint, another free-to-play MMO developer, laid off approximately 120 employees earlier last week, equaling 15% of its total workforce. This was a major move for the company as the drastic measures culminated in the closing of their San Francisco branch (40 employees), thereby ending their US-based development. Bigpoint is responsible for many popular games including Pirate Storm, Drankensang Online, and Battlestar Galactica Online.
What do you think of this recent slew of company downsizings? Is the timing all just coincidence, or perhaps, could free-to-play be to blame? Let us know your opinion below.
Source: GameIndustry International
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