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Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom

As noted on Kotaku, tweets like this one point to layoffs at EA-owned PopCap Studios, which PopCap confirms and explains. On VG247 they have details from an email purportedly from THQ saying 20 marketing and production jobs are being cut. Finally, Polygon has word of cuts at Funcom, saying the developer of The Secret World confirmed the layoffs, but would not comment on reports that this impacted about half their staff.

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10. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 20:37 jdreyer
 
Here's the blog post explaining the cuts at Popcap.

This is the key part:

A little context on why we’re making cuts in some areas while we’re investing and expanding in others: In the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way people play and pay for games. Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity. That happened fast. Surprisingly so. The change in consumer tastes requires us to reorganize our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms. It’s a completely different world from when we started.

There’s also an economic component to the reorganization. To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency and maintain a profit. We’ve been able to invest in creative new games like Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies because we had a high profit business. That business is challenged, and if we don’t adapt, we won’t be able to invest in new IP. That sounds harsh – but if we don’t stay in business, no more plants, zombies, jewels, frogs or worms.

One year ago, we decided to integrate PopCap with EA. I know I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else right now. EA has provided a lot of resources for us to grow and allowed us to operate as an independent studio. I’ve seen speculation that EA is no longer letting PopCap run independently, and that’s simply not true. The founders, CEO, and executives who were in charge of PopCap still are. The decision to reorganize was 100 percent made by us, with no pressure from EA. EA has a diverse business with games on consoles, PCs and practically every other platform under the sun. We’re glad to have those resources supporting us when a lot of other independent studios are struggling. In addition, some of the people affected by the reorganization may be retrained and reassigned to other jobs in the EA studios. If we didn’t have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse.
 
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9. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 10:17 Verno
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 08:51:
I honestly don't understand why they'd do that. Surely such a massive success would give him a lot of leeway? If he could recreate that success then they'd literally make millions and even if he couldn't I could still see him being very useful to existing projects.

EA probably just canned the higher ups to rid themselves of the salary/bonus burdens and kept the grunts with a promise of advancement opportunities. They've done this before with their other studio acquisitions. It's kind of hilarious how a job in marketing or sales has more protection at EA than a creator of original properties.
 
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8. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 09:08 ASeven
 
I bet PopCap are now so glad they sold to EA.  
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7. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 08:51 theyarecomingforyou
 
fawker wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 06:43:
The creator of PvZ did indeed lose his job. I hate EA, here comes another lifeless sequel.
I honestly don't understand why they'd do that. Surely such a massive success would give him a lot of leeway? If he could recreate that success then they'd literally make millions and even if he couldn't I could still see him being very useful to existing projects.
 
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6. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 08:47 nin
 
The creator of PvZ did indeed lose his job.

If that's the case, I can't see buying the sequel...

 
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5. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 07:37 Beamer
 
Weird.
As he mentions, they're still growing. Barely a week goes by that I don't get a recruiter contacting me for PopCap (which is different than from PopCap, but still...)

Seems like a good chunk of the layoffs were game directors. Not even sure how you let George Fan go unless he's proven completely unable to design anything else, which also seems unlikely.

Given that this is ~8% of the workforce, and that they plan to rehire 50 people over the next 6 months, this sounds like either a dead weight move or a complete refocus. Given that it seems to be a good amount of developers and that they're still aggressively hiring marketers...
 
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4. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 07:27 Jonjonz
 
Funcom strikes out again.  
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3. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 07:24 Dades
 
Unbelievable, EA can even fuck up a sure thing like PopCap.  
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2. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 06:43 fawker
 
The creator of PvZ did indeed lose his job. I hate EA, here comes another lifeless sequel.  
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1. Re: Cuts at PopCap, THQ, and Funcom Aug 22, 2012, 00:14 jdreyer
 
OOh damn. I hope Jeff Green didn't lose his job.  
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