Layoffs at BioWare and 38 Studios

Not one, but two, gaming companies have done some employee layoffs this week. Both BioWare and 38 Studios have let some, or all, of their employees go. As someone who enjoys playing video games, I find this to be sad news. No one wants to be unemployed, and especially not from something that many gamers would consider to be a dream job. I feel bad for the people who will soon be applying for unemployment benefits while struggling to find a new job.

BioWare is the company that makes Star Wars: The Old Republic. They have done a downsizing of the development team that worked on the game. At this time, it isn’t entirely clear exactly how many people were affected by the layoffs, or who, exactly those employees were. What is known is that SWTOR will still be playable for the foreseeable future. A quote from the statement on the BioWare website on this subject reads:

“We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game, and we feel we are in a strong position, with your continued involvement and feedback, to continue to build Star Wars: The Old Republic as one of the most compelling and successful online experiences in the world today”.

Things are not nearly as hopeful over at 38 Studios. The company, and Big Huge Games (which is its subsidiary), has laid off its entire workforce of nearly 400 employees. This is the company that recently released Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which is a single player RPG. One of my friends was really excited about that game, and could hardly wait for it to be launched.

According to The Escapist, employees at 38 studios received an email that contained the following:

“The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary. These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary. This is your official notice of lay-off, effective today, Thursday, May 24, 2012.”

It appears that 38 Studios needed to sell 3 million copies of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning just to break even. They sold around 1.2 million copies of the game.