Marmalade is ceasing the production and support of its Marmalade Game Platform, choosing to instead focus on the output of its own game studios. The shift is expected to entail considerable job losses at the 17 year old firm.
"Marmalade is changing it's business model to enable our partners to optimise the Marmalade technology for their own specific needs," reads a statement sent to GamesIndustry.biz. "By doing this, it has reduced the internal resource requirements for developing and evolving the technology."
The company has offices in Lisbon, London and California and had previously focused on its Marmalade Platform as the mainstay of its business, but a blog post on the company's official site indicates that a 'restructuring' process will see just three more iterations of the platform being released: September 2016 (8.6), December 2016 (8.7) and March 217 (8.8), after which the licence server will be turned off and support will cease.
A Source edition of the Marmalade platform will be available for purchase until October, providing source code access, but the company has "no plans" to open source the product. More details on support for existing customers are available on the company blog.
"Marmalade has taken the difficult decision to restructure the platform business and will be moving to focus on the Marmalade Game Studio," the post reads.
"Marmalade is changing it's business model to enable our partners to optimise the Marmalade technology for their own specific needs. By doing this, it has reduced the internal resource requirements for developing and evolving the technology."
"We want to make sure we provide the best support possible during this period of restructuring and we have planned a roadmap which we believe will best suit our customers' requirements."
As recently as January, things looked bright for the business, with $5 million secured in funding, led by Bloc Ventures, even as former CEO Harvey Elliott stepped down. His successor, Bruce Beckloff, said at the time that he expected the company to be publicly listed in the relatively near future."
"We are excited to have completed this round of financing," said Beckloff in January. "It allows Marmalade to both restructure the balance sheet and inject further growth capital into the business. We believe this well positions Marmalade for a public listing in the future as there is notable appetite for fast growing companies that significantly enable the mobile gaming space."
Although Marmalade is framing the shift to production focus as a relatively minor one, there can be no doubt as the importance of the platform business to the firm as a whole, as exemplified by the following mission statement from the company's site.
"At the core of the company, the powerful Marmalade Platform enables developers to build high performance 2D and 3D games and apps using its flexible development environment. It provides developers with access to an exceptional ecosystem of partner services, tools and technologies that work seamlessly with Marmalade, enabling developers and game makers to execute their vision without compromise."
For now, the exact extent of the job losses involved remains unknown, but it seems reasonable to expect that many of the staff previously working primarily on the platform will be looking for work. As always, offers of help are welcome in the comments.
[UPDATE]: After the original publication of this article, Beckloff provided GamesIndustry.biz with a statement offering some more context for the move:
We are not going into specifics around the changes at Marmalade, but the focus now is to ensure our customers have the right level of internal support to take our technology forward.
In essence we are changing the model from one where we try to make a one-size-fits-all SDK to one where we provide the tools to our customers for them to optimise the technology to their specific needs. We have found over the years that our customers are the ones that tend to optimise their games for performance. By changing our business model the way we have, we will enable our customers to be self-sufficient with our technology to tailor it to their exact requirements. We think that this will provide them and the market a better solution for the long term.
In the near term, our focus is solely on the customers and developers that already use the technology today to enable them to take the Marmalade Platform forward in their own context. To the future, we will evaluate whether other evolutions of the technology and business model are appropriate to maximise the reach of the Marmalade.