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CCP to reduce headcount by 20% to concentrate on EVE

Wed 19 Oct 2011 2:27pm GMT / 10:27am EDT / 7:27am PDT
PeopleOnline

Over-stretched resources leads to "the decision to sharpen our focus"

EVE developer CCP has announced that it will be reducing its headcount by 20 per cent, with the job losses largely taking place at the company's Atlanta, Georgia studio, although some positions in Reykjavik will be affected.

A press release issued this afternoon revealed that recent attempts to develop EVE expansions, Dust 514 and the new MMO World of Darkness all at once had stretched company resources too thinly, and that job cuts would have to be made in order to refocus development.

The release continues the company's vein of frank communication with its customers, following several issues of negative feedback following recent changes to EVE, which led to the company offering reduced subscriptions to entice leaving players to return.

"During the last few months, as evidenced by our interaction with the community, we made some missteps on that journey," reads the release, referencing the recent diversification of projects.  

"As we re-examine our outward relations, we are also taking time to re-evaluate our internal goals. In doing so, we have come to the conclusion that we are attempting too many things for a company our size. Developing EVE expansions, DUST 514 and World of Darkness has stretched our resources too thin.  

"Rather than allowing this to persist, we have made the decision to sharpen our focus. Sadly, this means reducing our staff. We estimate that around twenty percent of global positions will be affected by this process. These will be predominantly in our Atlanta, GA office, although select positions in our Reykjavik, Iceland office will be affected.  

"We are very sad to lose some of our talented and dedicated colleagues to this necessary process. Naturally we are making every effort within our means to help them find alternative employment. Decisions like these are difficult for all those involved and extraordinarily sad for all of those whose lives are affected."

"First, EVE Online is in good health. Our subscriber numbers are higher today than they were a year ago."

The major casualty of the restructuring will be the team which was working on World of Darkness, which will continue development under reduced resources. EVE and Dust 514 will take priority.  

"We understand how an announcement such as this can be perceived by our community and industry peers. We feel it is important to clearly address two questions that might arise, " the release continues.  

"First, EVE Online is in good health. Our subscriber numbers are higher today than they were a year ago. Unlike many other MMO's on the market, we have continued to grow year-on-year since launch in 2003. However, over the past two months, our subscribers have gone down from their peak this summer. We attribute this to our own mistakes and poor communications with our players. We are correcting that now.  

"Second, World of Darkness lives on. Its concepts are revolutionary. CCP continues to believe that it will alter the landscape of the MMO as significantly as EVE has done but we need more time to continue to develop them before dedicating the substantial resources required to bring this experience to market.  

"As an innovator in the industry, CCP has never shied away from tough decisions, remaining agile to allow for shifts in production, technology and gaming trends since even before the launch of EVE Online. While our decision to refocus is a solemn one, it will benefit our players through a renewed commitment to the EVE Universe and its fans." 

The new EVE expansion, as yet un-named but designed to return to the game's core values after players derided the 'Incarna' addition earlier this year, is due to launch in winter, as are player trials for the PSN exclusive Dust 514.

7 Comments

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
I feel kind of sorry for CCP - has this all stemmed from their offering in-game microtransactions which some users felt unbalanced the game? It seems as though they've spent most of the last six months just fighting various fires. No matter how you dress it up, losing 1 in 5 members of staff across the company is a major issue. Best of luck to all those affected.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

robert troughton UK General Manager, Epic Games

224 100 0.4
Copy/paste from my "other website" post:

Just to add my opinion to the backlash that seems to be hitting CCP at the moment...

I worked at CCP in Newcastle for a year before starting up Pitbull and, I have to say, they were one of the best companies I'd worked for. They treat the staff well, give Christmas bonuses, don't expect people to work crazy amounts of overtime, don't put unrealistic schedules onto people, and, yeah, are really friendly as well. It was an honour to work with them.

Hillmar, too, seems to be getting a lot of flak here... and I think it's all going a bit far. An internal document was leaked which, oh my god, showed that CCP had plans for increasing profits. Shit, they shouldn't be doing that!

Apple sell their hardware for hundreds of pounds over real market value and, yet, are only met with praise. CCP look to see a bit of in-game content - and they're hated for it.
The people that have been let go from CCP, while sad, I don't personally connect this with the recent events... sure, the timing is extremely coincidental... but I suspect the bigger picture is that World of Darkness isn't working out as well as hoped... so CCP are looking to concentrate on their success, Eve, and their hopeful side-success, Dust 514.

Hope it all works out well for them.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Brian Lewis Operations Manager, Aeria Games Europe

141 93 0.7
I am not sure that this is being interpreted correctly.

CCP is laying off staff, and taking the staff that they have, and putting them on a different product. This is not what companies do when they feel that the product that the staff WAS working on is viable. This is less about re-dedicating to EVE and more about cutting the cost/overhead for World of Darkness. If CCP felt that BOTH franchise were viable, and would give good returns, they would be HIRING more people, and expanding... not laying off.

The reality is that World of Darkness has turned out to be hugely expensive, and does not look to be making any money soon. They greatly underestimated the resources needed to make this work, and 'borrowed' them from EVE. Now that they have realized that this isn't going to get the game off the ground anytime soon, they are moving the resources back, and cutting the additional staff while they redesign the game to be more feasible.

This is a good business decision... but not really related to EVE.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Cory King Software Engineer, HB Studios

1 0 0.0
@Terence Micro-transactions were only a small part of the outrage voiced by the community (albeit a definite catalyst). I suspect the far greater problem was that the community felt that the important parts of Eve were being ignored while the majority of resources were being put into CCPs other projects. The most recent content added to Eve was felt to be a tech demo for WoD and that in its released form offered very little meaningful content to players used to getting large expansions twice a year.

Obviously a company needs to grow its business with other products, but CCP overextended its resources trying to create two new ambitious products off the money generated by a single product which also required constant development and iterations.

Best of luck to the developers and their families who lost their jobs because of this. Hopefully this refocusing will create a stronger CCP.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Kevin Robertson Account Executive - Eastern North America, Unity Technologies

6 0 0.0
@ Robert - Very well said sir.

I've always been a big fan of CCP. Have EVE fans forgotten their roots? I mean, CCP has done nothing but listen to the community for 8 years. They've created an online world where permanence is real, and every action has consequences that reverberate through the in-game universe. An incredible feat - and something they could only accomplish by intent and vigorous 'listening'.

I applaud them for how their taking so much blame and responsibility - above and beyond what the realistically should.

-kr

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Phil Johnson Design Graduate

3 0 0.0
I think a big contributor to the problem is that the players genuinely are empowered by the company... which unfortunately in many cases has led to a sense of entitlement. The current chairman of the CSM is, frankly, a blithering idiot who is extremely quick to attack anything he doesn't understand (which is most things). Unfortunately, he's a POPULAR idiot, and the result is that when he leads the charge, CCP have to do some very hasty damage control.

This isn't about community damage control, though. As vocal as a minority of players have been, the actual impact on the company can't have been sufficient to prompt a restructuring on this scale. The rumour in the community is that DUST 514 is WAY over budget.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

196 545 2.8
@Terrence - Re: "I feel kind of sorry for CCP - has this all stemmed from their offering in-game microtransactions which some users felt unbalanced the game?"

It's actually worse than that. The outraqe wasn't over the microtransactions that they were offering, it was over microtransactions that they weren't offering but certain members of the community were afraid they would.

I've not seen anything in all of Monoclegate that was complaining about anything that had actually happened.

As a lifelong Eve player, I know exactly when it was that the long-termers started to lose their love of the game and drift away. They don't want to play some other Eve player's vision of Eve, be constrained to someone else's playstyle just because that person cried loudest. I want to play EVE - I want to play the game Hilmar set out to create. I want to play the game with the in-character tutorial and interface, the game with a living, breathtaking plot, the game where you always knew what was an exploit and what wasn't because legitimate gambits were "realistic" and exploits weren't.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 21st October 2011 2:25am

Posted:3 years ago

#7

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