News February 11, 2016

The Game Industry Suffers Abundant Layoffs!

Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
Date: 02/11/16

It’s been a rouge week for the gaming industry. Actually, using the word “rough” doesn’t even come close to describing how bad things are looking right about now…

gt-logoThe first blow to the gaming world came from our side of things. On Monday, February 8th, the beloved GameTrailers announced their abrupt closing on Twitter. No rhyme or reason; just a “thank you for your continued support over the years. It’s been an adventure”. Shortly after that, their Facebook page was updated with a post that talked about their thirteen years in the industry and how they helped to usher in this new-ish wave of Youtube sensations (Let’s Plays and all that).

Some said that this was bound to happen. I mean, since they were purchased by Defy Media (which owns several other gaming sites) in 2014, they’ve seen multiple layoffs. Add in the fact that games media has migrated to Youtube – removing some of the uniqueness that was GameTrailers – and software like Ad-blocker, the writing was on the wall. That said, it sucks that people are out of work. Daniel Bloodworth, Managing Editor, was on his honeymoon when everything went down; I’m not sure if we was aware of what was going to happen or not, but it would seem that he didn’t know based on where he was at the time. Hopefully, everyone will land on their feet. If we had a budget worthy of their talent, we’d take them in a heartbeat!

The next blow came on the game’s development side, just a day after GT’s closing. Motiga, the company working on Gigantic, announced significant temporary studio layoffs via their blog. Their financial situation just didn’t allow them to continue supporting everyone while working on the game. This wasn’t the first time this sort of thing happened, though it wasn’t this significate. There are talks of with potential investors that could right the ship. Unfortunately, those discussions are taking longer than expected.

gigantic-screen

“Our goal at this time is to work aggressively to identify the resources we need to rehire the members of the Motiga family that were laid off today, securing our financial future so that the Gigantic community can continue to work with us to develop this title, and ultimately bring the complete Gigantic experience to the marketplace. We will continue to keep our community, and the world-at-large, apprised of this situation as it continues to unfold over the coming weeks.”


I honestly don’t know why Microsoft wouldn’t purchase Motiga, seeing as how Gigantic was going to be an Xbox One/PC exclusive. Of course, they could be one of the investors for all I know. Regardless of who Motiga ends up partnering with, we hope they’ll be able to rehire everyone that was let go.

The last blow came just yesterday. This time from it was from the long-standing, third party accessory provider, Mad Catz Interactive. Apparently, due to fluctuating finances, Mad Catz will be laying off some of its workforce. Which is interesting given that their fiscal 2016 third quarter net sales increased by 144% ($65 million), making it the second highest quarterly gain in the company’s history.  

Karen McGinnis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz, said, “Our quarterly net sales were the second highest in the Company’s history reflecting strong Rock Band 4 sales, which were partially offset by continuing softness in sales of our audio and PC gaming products. However, Rock Band sell-through was lower than originally forecast resulting in higher inventory balances as well as lower margins due to increased promotional activity with retailers.  Looking ahead, we are confident in our ability to further monetize our diverse range of products and are focused on updating and improving many of our product offerings to better leverage the opportunities we see ahead.”    

pax-rock-band-guitar

Mad Catz’ Board of Directors has approved a “restructuring plan” that focuses on lowering operating costs. This means the departure of 37% of their workforce, including President and CEO, Darren Richardson (Karen McGinnis was appointed after him). Again, we hope everyone who are or will be out of work in the near future will be able to find jobs as quickly as possible.

This industry, like any other, has its ups and down. It still hurts when things like this happen though; being laid off feels horrible, I know from experience. That said, I have faith that those affected will land on their feet. There are plenty of opportunities out there. One only has to look at how the gaming media has been offering jobs (or at the very least sharing potential openings) with those from GT to be hopeful.