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Sony Online Entertainment axes 200 jobs, closes 3 studios

Crime MMO The Agency cancelled in sweeping cull at US business

Sony Online Entertainment has confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that over 200 jobs are to be axed across its studios.

The company is cancelling work on the long-in-development PC and PlayStation 3 title The Agency and closing three of its studios in Denver, Tucson and Seattle.

"As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios.

"As part of this restructuring, SOE is discontinuing production of The Agency so it can focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide and EverQuest properties, while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games. All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern.

"This strategic decision will have no impact on SOE's current portfolio of live games; additionally SOE will transition development efforts for the Denver and Tucson studios' suite of products to its San Diego headquarters."

"This strategic alignment of development resources better positions SOE to remain a global leader in online gaming and deliver on its promise of creating entertaining games for players of all ages, and servicing the 20 million players that visited SOE servers in just the past year."

Sony Online Entertainment released the PS3 and PC MMO DC Universe Online at the start of the year and this week launched hit free-to-play game Free Realms on the PlayStation 3.

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Latest comments (16)

Private Industry 5 years ago
It makes sense there is only a limited amount of mmos a market can handle.
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Robert Kelly5 years ago
I hope those who Were affected find new jobs soon
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Robert Kelly5 years ago
Don't know why my "were" is uppercase...
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Show all comments (16)
Private Industry 5 years ago
Next up Volition and Kaos from THQ. Well the new financial year starts tomorrow.
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Sebastian Moss Editor -in- Chief, PlayStation LifeStyle5 years ago
Good luck to all those out of a job, that's an incredibly large cut so it'll be difficult for them to all find a new position.
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Ankit Bansal Assistant Manager - Testing, iEnergizer Inc.5 years ago
That is indeed a large axe. Hope everyone stabilizes and find good jobs soon.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Jeez good luck to all affected.
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Nick Burcombe CEO & Co Founder, Playrise Digital Ltd.5 years ago
Feel for them. Awful news. 200! Jeez.
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JAN Wagner Managing Director, Cliffhanger Productions5 years ago
we (cliffhanger productions) are looking for coders with online experience -
[link url=http://www.gamesindustry.biz/jobs/cliffhanger-productions/austria/uk-and-europe/software-developer--id47718
]http://www.gamesindustry.biz/jobs/cliffh...[/link]
just saying....

Edited 1 times. Last edit by JAN Wagner on 1st April 2011 3:30pm

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Sony is already in a very good position with Free Realms, The Agency was something very risky: It was focused in a niche of market; but now... its gone. =\
I'm part of this niche. _
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
I was really looking forward to the agency, tbh. Good luck to all those who lost their jobs!
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Chris Tux Consultant 5 years ago
The artists from their Denver office should have very little trouble finding new jobs. They were a very talented group and graphic design of their caliber isn't easy to find. Being 3 locations also helps in that they aren't all competing for the same 'local' openings.

My question though, where were most of these positions lost from? 200+ people seems far too many for just the games effected. Tucson only did PoxNora. The Agency really couldn't have had that many people working on it either after the delays that game has received. And I doubt it took 100-150 people to run the Denver office. So...were most of these layoffs from Austin or San Diego?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Best of luck to those affected.

I remember seeing an early build of The Agency at a press event a few years back in NYC and being really impressed but worried (once again) that the focus was SO heavily on MMOnline play when they had the makings of a more than solid single player/co-op online experience that didn't need a ton of players in the same space to be enjoyable.

I wonder what would have happened if they'd dropped the bigger plans for worldwide domination and put together something that could be enjoyed for what it was with the potential to expand in the future? Niche or not, there was something happening there that made the game in progress worth watching. Ah well...
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 5 years ago
Word of advice get a job at an independent game developer or go freelance ;)
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Sid Video Game Development 5 years ago
This is not going to be an end for all the game passionate s who are/were let out. Let's hope their is some much better chance waiting for you guys than this. Good luck. Talent always find a definite good destination nevertheless of ups and downs in life. Keep up the spirit. It will be great if Sony just changes the production plan than axing what is already going. It looks to me even a big production studio like Sony made a wrong pre assumption on production lines and now affecting the resources.
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Private Industry 5 years ago
That was a big wrong pre assumption on the part of putting way to many MMO`s into production. having 2 or 3 going is fine but they did what 5? That`s just to much for the market especially on consoles with the smaller user base compared to PC. With 50 million user base you are probably lucky if there are even 2 MMO`s on the console that make profit with the high amount of games coming out every year for the system.
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