What is going on in Our Industry??

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for our industry in terms of job losses.

The Activision \ Vivendi merger has resulted in layoffs at High Moon and almost certainly at Radical. Midway slashes the number of employees at Midway Austin today. NCSoft is about to slash and burn at their Austin offices. Space Time Studios just dropped 16 people from their team.

People are being felled left right and center. Why now? Is there something going on?

I don’t honestly believe there is. I think – from what I can tell – that is more coincidental than organised. Activision is basically removing what they consider to be dead weight from the Vivendi tree (as far as I can tell Activision is now a license company and will only takes very conservative risks on new IP (quite failing to understand that the two biggest things they have – WoW and Call of Duty came from risk taking) and as such anything that Vivendi had going in that vein, unless very close to being done, was killed.

In terms of NCSoft, this looks like the debacle that was Tabula Rasa is coming home to roost. NCSoft Austin hasn’t produced anything of note to date and the cancellation of an MMO that was in progress (mainly because the team themselves didn’t believe in it), the lack of success of Dungeon Runners and the letting go of the Black Star project at Space Time (which is responsible for them shedding people) all contribute to a lack of confidence there.

The Midway thing – well, it’s understandable in terms of the dismal losses they are reporting. However killing that which might be good (although I have no information on what WAS being built at Midway Austin) seems a little short sighted. I would personally have killed This Is Vegas before the Austin offering myself, since that really *is* a project without an audience.

None of these are related in cause, they just happen to occur at the same time.

This sucks.

I hope those who lost jobs can get it together fast.

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