Sony Computer Entertainment Sees Lay-Offs At Three Studios [Update]

By Ishaan . March 25, 2014 . 6:05am

Sony Computer Entertainment has been hit with more lay-offs, Videogamer reported this morning. Three studios were affected in the lay-off proceedings—Evolution Studios (DriveClub), Guerilla Cambridge (Killzone Mercenary) and SCE London Studio (The Deep Project Morpheus demo).

 

According to Videogamer, numerous employees of each studio have been affected.

 

“Regular reviews take place throughout SCE Worldwide Studios, ensuring that the resources that we have in such a competitive business can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects,” a Sony spokesperson said to the site. “As part of this process, we have reviewed and assessed all current projects and have decided to make some changes to some of our European Studios.”

 

“As a result of this, there will be a focused restructure within London Studio, Guerrilla Cambridge Studio and Evolution Studio to ensure that the SCE WWS is in the best position to achieve their goals going forward,” the Sony representative added. “Our first party development studios are key to our creative strategy and we are very excited about the future projects being worked on.”

 

According to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, the development of DriveClub—a racing game for the PlayStation 4—will “not be affected” by the lay-offs at Evolution.

 

The news in the wake of redundancies at Sony’s Santa Monica studio last month. Santa Monica are responsible for the development of the God of War games. Among those that left the studio at this time was God of War III director Stig Asmussen, although it is unknown if he left of his own accord or not.

 

Update: It has now been revealed that DriveClub game director Col Rodgers has left Evolution Studios. Rodgers left the studio in February to form an indie studio named Big Red Switch, and his departure is not connected to today’s lay-offs.


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  • PreyMantis

    From almost every article I found on various websites, this is almost all I read whether be articles or comments:
    Nintendo weak Wii U sales: “Nintendo is doomed!” “They need to go third-party if they want to live.”
    Sony weak console sales, layoffs and buildings sold: “They fine…”

    I just find it kinda interesting how Sony gets a pass with doom-and-gloom articles even when their situation is more dire than Nintendo’s.

    Besides that, it sucks that these people are getting laid off. I hope someday in the near future that none of this will happen.

    • Aaron K Stone

      What’s more Nintendo goes and builds new buildings and hires more people.

    • Notquitesure?

      Likely stuff like this will continue to happen and that means for everything. Less jobs less buying customers for consumer goods, it makes you wonder, not really referring to sony though. With the first part of your statement i found that before ps3 overtook xbox360 there was a lot of doom and gloom especially for vita. I think fact that sony has picked up somewhat has influenced their view. And with the Nintendo doom and gloom, to me there was always an expectation for nintendo products to sell like wildfire and when it doesn’t people get unconfident and this reflects the attitude about nintendo being “doomed.”

      • PreyMantis

        I would agree with you on PS3 and Vita articles, but they aren’t “Sony doomed” articles or articles explaning why Sony should go third-party like all those Nintendo-doomed articles. On the other hand, Nintendo, while not ground-breaking and still managing to outsell the DS’ early sales with the 3DS, is still bombarded by “Nintendo is doomed!” “they need to go third-party and make iPhone games” type of articles. Same with the Wii U’s weak sales, they get “Nintendo doomed” articles and not “Wii U doomed” articles for the most part. Why is Sony getting a pass with all these problems they’ve been having while Nintendo gets all these doom and gloom articles even with the positive things happening with Nintendo (new buildings, hiring, new venues, etc.)?

        I may sound like I’m trying to put down Sony, but I just don’t get it; it makes no sense. I guess I’m just thinking too deep onto this, or there’s just a lot of people that really hates Nintendo…

        • Guest

          For the latter part I could add that I can recognize certain disdain from some media outlets whose journalists desire video-games to become more like the film industry, with superstars, awards show, glamor and supposedly more acceptance to the medium; as a “normal” form of entertainment. They basically want prestige and to be important beyond the small pond of this industry.

          And I guess they feel what Nintendo do is against their efforts. They don’t want them at number one, they don’t fit this vision, they still have the core principle of making toys: making stuff fun. Sony and Microsoft, however, fit more in this bill; they aren’t so… colourful, they can act as the flagship of the “evolution of the game design”, because serious/dark/edgy is symptom of growing up, “Oh, we got a Citizen Kain” they want to proclaim. Then as a delegitimizing action we got this constant bombardment of everything in the light of bad news; Nintendo Directs was just the result of this, to try to reach the consumers without those meddling informants :P

    • Guest

      You had to read yesterday’s comments about Nintendo not attending PAX just before knowing Capcom, Sony, EA and others won’t too. “What the hell, Nintendo”, “Nintendo is out of touch”, “They have no gamez to show so whatever” xD

      But I suppose that’s the crux of being the biggest and most important on the industry, everyone is going to scrutinize their actions.

      • GH56734

        It has more to do with the (not so) secret wish of Nintendo going third party and prostituting their franchises to oblivion.

        Actually, some devs wish for that too (that and Nintendo embracing the ways of F2P/DLC/IAP/…) to legitimize their own practices.

    • Domii

      People lost their jobs here for various reasons. It’s part of the business unfortunately. Don’t make this in to a Sony vs Nintendo thing.

      • PreyMantis

        I’m not. It’s just me wondering why there are doom article about Nintendo when they are in a financially better position than Sony that doesn’t get the same exaggerated treatment. I’m not trying to stir anything here, but if you could explain the reason, it’s much appreciated.

        • Domii

          That’s besides the point. People lost their jobs. This has nothing to do with Nintendo. Now if your talking about where Sony stands in the industry compare to its competitors than thats another story. Sony are currently enjoying great PS4 sales so maybe that’s why you don’t hear many doom articles about them.

          • PreyMantis

            My post is every bit of the point. You’re the only one not getting the point I was trying to make. Yes, some people lost their jobs, like I mentioned in my initial post, but that wasn’t the point in MY topic.

            I don’t know where you learned it from, but the PS4 sales are something you shouldn’t be proud about when Sony is still losing money for each PS4 sold.

          • Sav

            they aren’t loosing much.

            not trying to stir something? lol get out.

            the reason? not many care about nintendo, atleast not in a postive way, nintendo is almost meaningless these days, especially to adult gamers who want more than mario.

            where as many actually do care about sony an their playstation brand, so yeah maybe sony/playstation does get a pass here an there an rightfully so.

          • PreyMantis

            Ad hominem is not going to help you.

    • Duo Maxwell

      Because it’s efficient? Obviously you missed the old PS3 days, where it happened all over Sony’s studios. They are laying off anything that just doesn’t produce good result. Remember SSM? That’s the result of 4 years working and the only thing they have is the teaser for Stig’s project, obviously they will have to cancel it. Sony is going through re-structuring their studios all across the world.

      And you “Sony weak console sales” are funny. It’s almost sold out everywhere. You can’t sell more than sold out.

      Nintendo only have their handheld and the finance that from previous gen. If they are not making any progress, obviously they are doomed. The PS3, even with the shit start, still managed to catch up.

      • PreyMantis

        Why are you asking me if it’s efficient? Well, it isn’t efficient for short-term gain, and the fact that it cost more to hire than to fire people around is just a bad decision.

        Yes, you are right that there were doom and gloom articles about the PS3, but only the PS3. But was there ever a “Sony doomed” article? Even though Sony is in a much worst situation than Nintendo, why aren’t they getting the same exaggerated treatment as Nintendo’s doomed articles? Most of these articles aren’t just making a death prediction on a console, but a whole company, which is stupid considering they’re the more financially stable company than Sony which have been bleeding in their various divisions for years.

        As for the PS4 sales, yes it sold out on some regions, but that doesn’t reflect the situation of a company. I don’t know if you know, but Sony is still losing money from the PS4, so that isn’t something to boast about. Also, is the Vita selling out?

        Ahh, the common misconception about Nintendo’s financial situation. Nintendo not making any progress? How is the progress of hiring more people, getting new buildings, and buying stakes from various other companies directs them as being doomed? They’re the only company that’s constantly doing these, so how is this not progress in the company?

        • Duo Maxwell

          The Vita is making money, and much to our surprise, it’s making money based on the software sale and the memory card sale.

          With every PS4, Sony is losing money, but they even out the cost with a single game or a year of PS+ subscription.

          Nintendo isn’t making any progress isn’t a misconception.

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BeNAZ5bCYAA0g-W.jpg:large

          You could say it’s because of the developing of the WiiU, but they are struggling and even their finance reports is telling that their finance is in trouble for last year.

          • Guest

            Wow, Sony despite PS2 selling well made almost the same, or less?, as Nintendo with the GameCube and then they lost money constantly since the PS3 launch, and despite Microsoft getting several new ways to revenue (Paid online) they are still in red numbers overall… Elop maybe is going after that xP
            And what? Nintendo at 2013? They actually made profit?

            Anyway, they still have “their handheld”, which happens to be the highest-selling console WW, they will be fine.

          • PreyMantis

            Now, you’re just grasping on a straw. If you’re going to count proprietary memory cards, online subscription, software, etc. why not count the Wii U’s peripherals and software, too? I mean, Nintendo games are the only ones that pretty much sell the most in their systems, so that wouldn’t be a problem if you add those.

            You’re right, the Wii U isn’t doing so great right now, but that isn’t to say the company is doing poorly. If they are, care to explain why they would invest on stakes from other companies, hire more people, buy new buildings, etc. if they are really in a dump?

          • tubers

            Maybe breaking even.. just not making money for games like KZM, Unit 13, etc.. Western, incidentally castrated games.

        • darke

          Actually, a round of targeted layoffs can be very productive in the short term for an organisation, as “Dead wood” tends to build up in any organisation. The best and brightest tend to either get bored, hit a performance ceiling where they can’t get paid more without moving into management, or just get lured away by another company, whereas the more average employees tend to stay around because they’ve got a good deal.

          To a certain extent it can also be good for the employee as well; I know I was sitting in a job that I didn’t like much, but it was convenient and I couldn’t be bothered hunting down a better one; so being forced to was certainly an efficient way of providing me long term gain for short term pain. :P

          Also in terms of programmers especially, the cost of hiring them is almost non-existent compared to the long-term cost of employing a poor programmer, or someone who works poorly with the rest of the team.

          Anyway, hiring and firing is complex, and it sucks no matter where you sit. :(

      • Nintendojitsu

        Sony is not PS4 and Nintendo is not the Wii U.

  • malek86

    I think this is a result of the new market situation.

    Mantaining many big first-party studios is expensive. Most first-party games aren’t nearly as successful as TLOU or Halo, so they are really made with the intention of selling consoles, even if you lose money on the games.

    On the PS3 though, it was necessary, because third parties were reluctant to differentiate their PS3 output from their 360 output (almost all games were multiplatform after all, and in the beginning, many weren’t even on PS3). In other words, Sony had to cover for what third-party devs wouldn’t give them, if they wanted an edge on the 360.

    Today the PS4 is hugely successful because of other reasons, so they don’t really need a lot of first-party games to sell it. The big ones are enough. So they can save a bit of money by downsizing their studios (and god knows they need to save money at the moment). We’ll still see the big stuff, but probably less of the smaller or riskier titles. Besides, partnerships and self-publishing already take care of their needs for smaller stuff.

    • PreyMantis

      This is not a good excuse to lay off innocent employees.

      • Duo Maxwell

        There is no innocent employees. There are only employees who produce the results you want, and those who don’t.

        However, the original comment is wrong, though. They are not downsizing the work force because they rely on 3rd party studio. It’s because of canceled projects and studios restructuring. It happened to SCEJ, SCEA, and now it’s happening to SCEE.

        • malek86

          Yeah, but think about it, why are they canceling projects and restructuring? Their studios were bloated in the PS3 days too, but back then they needed as much output as they could, so they let them do their stuff.

          Now that they know what has worked and what hasn’t, and since the PS4 doesn’t need any breakout hit to be popular, they can afford to put those projects to rest.

          • Yause

            There could be any number of reasons, but I’m not sure if confidence in third parties is one of them. From what’s being said, there’s going to be a big lull in AAA games soon (slow 2015) because investors have no idea where the market will go (mobile? F2P? Always-online?). They stopped greenlighting the big games, opting to wait and see.

            The PS4 has had a good start, but that’s about it. Where Sony is concerned, there are still many questions left, such as the mass-market viability of traditional AAA games (aside from TLoU, the previous crop bombed, such as Beyond Two Souls, Puppeteer, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and LBP Karting) and the rise of online games on console. We can be sure that they’ll diversify their lineup to avoid placing all eggs into one basket.

          • Domii

            Except that all those bombed games aside from puppeteer sucked. I think Sony knew that and cut down hard on marketing them. That’s why I think sales for those games weren’t good maybe.

          • Duo Maxwell

            They are not putting that many projects to rest, honestly. Only 3-4 of them among 30 titles they are developing, and only those that didn’t produce are result. Truth to be told, at one point “The Last of Us” was going back to the drawing board since it’s so similar to Bioshock, and look at what we have currently. For the list of the project on the PS4, you can see it here.

            http://i.imgur.com/FYYSUfK.png

            Before you ask me who’s Demonnite, I think you could easily find out his information on the internet. How credible this guy is? He’s spotted on anything he told us since the last E3.

    • subsamuel01

      It’s sad but true, Sony had more exclusives than either console last gen simply because they needed to differentiate themselves from the 360. Now that PS4 has the advantage it seems that the amount of exclusives they released might go down, which means less employees are needed. Sad to see, but Sony is a struggling company.

  • NeptuniasBeard

    You know who’s NOT seeing massive layoffs? Nintendo. Just saiyan…

    • http://otakugamersuk.blogspot.co.uk/ Sanquine

      So, if someone is losing his job you can only say who hasn’t have layoffs as a company… You also could have some pity for the people who lose their jobs.. Instead of being some douchebag fanboy…

      • NeptuniasBeard

        Of course, I’m not trying to underplay the fact that good men and women are losing their jobs. Obviously, that is a shame. Just making a point that despite how things appear on the surface, the inner workings of the company tend to not reflect that. People have been talking up how Sony is arguably the best in the business, meanwhile the people Sony has constantly laid off are seen as expendable. Meanwhile, Nintendo is getting constantly under fire and being told how they should leave the hardware space (despite that leading to a LOT of lost jobs) and yet they are doing the opposite, acquiring even more buildings, and giving even more jobs.

        Douchebag fanboy? That just stings

        (Sorry if you are getting two of these, the first one’s being weird)

        • http://otakugamersuk.blogspot.co.uk/ Sanquine

          I get where you coming from. Sony has been a financieel disaster while Nintendo is sitting on a pile of cash. That view has to change. Sorry for the name calling but well i saw friends in real life losing their jobs and weather or not you like the company it’s terrible.
          Sorry from my part.

          • NeptuniasBeard

            No problem. Trying to make short comments like that tend to leave a lot of ambiguity. Sorry about your friends’ situations, I pray they get better soon.

        • malek86

          Being the best in the business in the eyes of gamers, doesn’t mean that they are making the best business moves (note: gamers tend to like free stuff, cheap yet powerful hardware, cheap accessories, etc).

          In other words, I think appealing to gamers could be one of the most expensive things you can do as a company. Valve can only do it because they don’t spend anything on hardware.

          Anyway, if the PS4 ends up being very successful (which it probably will), then this time they will have the paid subscriptions to count on. $50 per year, assuming the console can eventually get to say, 80 millions, probably about half of them with a PS+ account… that’s $2 billion per year. It worked wonders for Microsoft’s EED, and I guess it should work for SCE too. Maybe they can’t help the whole company, but the games division will be fine.

    • subsamuel01

      Nintendo has larger cash reserves than Sony, Nintendo can afford to fail with the Wii U and not suffer as much as say Sony would.

      • Sav

        yeah but sony won’t fail with the ps4.

        where as the wii u “failing” is almost a given.

        • Guest

          That’s yet to be seen, Sony have to seek the ‘casual’ audience that went to smartphones and tablets, they can’t just subsist on the demographic that bought the console so far. The console industry is in a dire situation where its potential to growth it’s gaming on non-specialized gaming devices.

  • z_merquise

    I find it unfair when the ones who do all the hard work are the target of layoffs while “the suits” are secured. Maybe there’s actually more to it but that’s always my impression when there are news of layoffs.

    People losing their jobs is not very nice. We can just hope for the best to those folks.

  • http://otakugamersuk.blogspot.co.uk/ Sanquine

    What’s up with all the butthurt below? Everyone is being aggitated because Nintendo normally get’s the doom and gloom card? Maybe it’s not that people hate Nintendo as someone below said but most people hate Nintendo fanboys. I? I couldn’t care less. I quiet gaming some time ago since it destroys to much of my precious time. The only tip i can give is not being such a narrowminded pigeon. Enjoy every console because all have their gems you’ve to play. Furthermore, some enjoy the fact people are layed off because it’s a Sony owned company.. What if you had that job and you have a family to feed?… Would be a pretty bad situation.

  • konsama

    Incoming Sonymadbot in 3…2…1…

    • Guest

      It already came, see Malek86 and pixxxelz comments xD

      • konsama

        They weren’t like than when i posted this lol.

        Predictable bot is predictable. xP

  • CozyAndWarm

    Man, Sony’s priorities are in all the wrong places imo. They’re willing to blow all their money on marketing (they said themselves the PS4 marketing budget is the biggest for any Sony product ever), but their game studios are seeing layoffs, the PS4′s exclusive library is paltry, they forced paid online on everyone, and there’s plenty of Sony-system exclusives that still aren’t localized. I know I’m not the only one that’s lost a lot of confidence in them as a gamer. They need some real changes.

  • Kalis Konig

    Now if the media and Sony fans would have as much input on how to fix sce problems as they do nintendo’s…

  • tubers

    VITA the cursed machine for Western studios.. tied to shut downs and layoffs.

    I wouldn’t doubt this means more low budget Western VITA games, if at all.

  • MogMoogle

    Meanwhile, at Nintendo, Iwata and a bunch of higher ups take pay cuts to save their employees.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I don’t think that’s quite it. The paycuts for Iwata and co. are more a sign of commitment than being necessary for them not to lay their staff off.

      Not that it isn’t very admirable that Iwata refuses to sack people; just that paycuts aren’t really required for that to happen. The cuts are just the management’s way of “taking responsibility” for screwing up.

  • Unlimax

    *Scratching my head* i wonder if this argument works for M$ ?

  • http://www.google.com/ LuckRequired

    Interesting, my comment was deleted.

  • Guest

    Thanks boss! x)

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