PopCap Games Makes 50 Staffers Redundant

Seattle studios lose a significant number of employees, Irish studio could be next

An announcement came this week from social games developer PopCap Games’ co-founder John Vechey confirming reports that 50 staff members have been made redundant from its Seattle studios.

In the announcement, Vechey added that the company’s Irish studio could have the same fate if its profitability does not improve, and that the Seattle lay-offs represent "a reorganisation in our studios due to a fast-changing industry." Which may appear as a contradiction since the company has been hiring staff aggressively over the past year and reporting constant growth.

According to the Electronic Arts’ subsidiary, it was a dramatic change in the way people play and pay for games that caused the company to re-evaluate and reorganise the business with a view to investing in new types of games on new platforms.

Also, Vechey said that PopCap founders and executives had to make the decision independently of its parent company Electronic Arts (EA) saying that "EA has provided a lot of resources for us to grow and allowed us to operate as an independent studio. I’ve seen speculation that EA is no longer letting PopCap run independently, and that’s simply not true. If we didn’t have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse."

So for the time being, PopCap will seek to focus on the mobile and social platforms and new markets, such as Japan and China.

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