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Streamline's Hector Fernandez

The production company's VP explains the reasons for the closure of the Amsterdam facility

Streamline Studios was established in 2001, but following a tough year this year has taken the decision to shut down its production facility in Amsterdam.

Here the company's VP, Hector Fernandez, explains exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz the reasons for the closure, and why Europe is such a tough place to do business at the moment.

GamesIndustry.biz Can you just explain the action you've taken regarding the business?
Hector Fernandez

We're closing down our production studio in Amsterdam, however the group behind Streamline Studios - and all of its workings will continue to live on. We’re basically taking a step back, reassessing the situation, and then essentially beginning our re-invention.

GamesIndustry.biz We spoke to the company's CEO, Alexander Fernandez, at the beginning of this year and the future then seemed bright, with 2008 revenues up 45 per cent. What's happened since then?
Hector Fernandez

What happened was the economic crisis - when we looked at the start of the year we were bullish and optimistic, simply because we had contracts that took us into 2011. But as the economic crisis worsened, especially during the summer period - our contracts started falling by the wayside.

Then one of our bigger clients went out of business with an accounts receivable that was quite high - compounded by an increase in the Euro and the death of the Dollar - so it was a triple hit that created a 'perfect storm' where we had to make this tough decision.

GamesIndustry.biz How will this impact the staff - will you be able to provide them with redundancy packages?
Hector Fernandez

We were very straightforward with our staff from the beginning of this year in terms of what the economic crisis could mean for the industry, and for our company itself.

We've downsized to a core team of people over the summer, and have decided to close the company largely in part to provide our former staff the best opportunity to receive the monies that are owed - making sure that we can find the best possible way to pay out salaries to the people who stuck by us, as much as possible.

GamesIndustry.biz And what of the future - where will the rest of the company go from here?
Hector Fernandez

The first point that I want to make is that the creative industries in The Netherlands is really incredible - there's no shortage of talented people who live here and people wanting to come here, but the problem is cost.

Although we have highly creative people in place where I'd say art, engineering and design skills are unparalleled, the cost is just way too high. That, combined with the new economic reality for the industry, means that we have to find a way to get highly creative people working, while remaining affordable.

I think probably the easiest way to say this is that the entire industry wants European quality, but they don't want to pay European prices. As a business we're going to have to look at how to leverage co-productions and the production management model in the industry now - but taking into account the economic realities that we're in.