96 jobs go as EA closes PopCap Dublin

Last month's layoffs escalate to full closure for casual studio

EA has closed its PopCap studio in Dublin, a month after laying off a number of staff and less than a fortnight after creating 300 new jobs in Ireland at a customer support centre.

The news was unofficially confirmed by producer JP Vaughn on Twitter, with a statement later issued by Electronic Arts confirming the closure. 96 staff have lost their jobs at the company.

"The consultation period in Ireland has been completed, and after having consulted fully with the employee representatives the PopCap leadership team has decided to close our Dublin office," said PopCap in a statement.

"96 people have been affected by the decision. PopCap has provided outplacement support and many employees have offers in other parts of PopCap, at EA or new opportunities with technology partners in Ireland," the company added.

Rumours of ongoing downsizing at the casual developer surfaced in August, with 3D Realms boss George Broussard intimating that the company had been shedding staff for some time.

Those losses were confirmed as a process of "re-organisation" by PopCap boss John Vechey, who said that: "This morning we informed our employees about a reorganization in our studios that will include a 'Reduction In Force' in our North American operation - mostly in our headquarters here in Seattle - and an 'exploratory consultation' to evaluate the future of our PopCap office in Dublin, Ireland."

When discussing the new jobs EA was locating in Ireland earlier this month, Peter Moore told GamesIndustry International that the studio's future was still under review.

EA bought PopCap, creator of Plants Vs Zombies, Zuma and Bejewelled, in 2011 for upwards of $750 million.

EA added: "Europe remains a critical market for PopCap and we will continue to grow our presence through centralised services operated from our North American offices and through the extensive European EA network.

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Latest comments (10)

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
Good luck to those affected. Seems that if you want your studio closing down, then selling it to a big publisher is a surefire way of ensuring it.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve9 years ago
I don't know if it's just a co-incidence, but PopCap seemed to be fine before the EA buyout. Seems to happen to a lot of EA development studios as well....

I hope those affected find themselves new jobs soon.
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Reading between the lines, PopCap was originally F2P and acquired a few casual studios prior to be acquired by EA.
Subsequently it opened a localization/marketing/biz dev, mobile dev and aincillary division in Dublin.

Seeing as the winds of change have shifted, i suspect a series of "pre emptive strike" consolidations are occurring (to save the home - US side game studios first, and due to high unemployment, weakening of the fed due to indefinite dilution of the USD) vs total closures in the future.

This is probably a small harbinger of the tougher economic challenges occurring in Q4 2012 and 2013 for the mid to large developer/publisher scene with obvious ripples/ ramifications for the smaller nimble studios
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Show all comments (10)
Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 9 years ago
Really sad news, adding to the already tough employment situation for prospective game devs in Ireland.
Looks like emigration is still the only real option for irish games develeopment talent.
Hope all the guys at Popcap Dublin land on thier feet.
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Private Industry 9 years ago
Good luck to all the guys I know a few people there hope they find something new shortly
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 9 years ago
Good luck to all you guys. : (
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Mats Holm Battlefront Producer, Electronic Arts9 years ago
Horrible new for the PopCap Dublin, very sorry to hear about the closure :( Good luck in your future projects.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
@Aidan Fitzpatrick Well said.
The problem with Dublin is that the Euro makes it an expensive place to do anything.

@Aidan Fitzpatrick
I am sure it is just a coincidence. :-)
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
Dublin was expensive even before the Euro.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany9 years ago
The pattern has repeated itself more times than you can fathom. Game studios rise, evolve, advance and at the apex of their glory, they are extinguished. Popcap is not the first. By utilizing our funding, game companies develop along paths we desire. They exist because we allow it, and will end because we demand it.

That is EA for you, best of luck to those affected...
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