In what is turning out to be an unfortunate chain of events, yet another game developer will be restructuring their company. ArenaNet, the makers of Guild Wars 2, has reportedly told employees that they will be following suit of companies such as Activation Blizzard in staff layoffs. Originally reported by Kotaku, the studio informed its staff today that they are “planning big layoffs,” according to an unnamed source present for the announcement.
According to Kotaku, an internal email was sent to staff by Songyee Yoon, CEO of NCSoft West which owns ArenaNet. In her email, she spoke of the company’s plans to “cut costs across the organization,” citing declining revenue and aging franchises as the reason for the cuts. “Where we are is not sustainable, and is not going to set us up for future success,” she wrote in her email. Earlier this afternoon, ArenaNet CEO Mike O’Brien met with staff to discuss the layoffs. While details on exactly how many people would be losing their jobs, or how the company plans to restructure once the layoffs happen are still unknown, Kotaku reports that employees affected will receive a two-month severance package, “as well as bonus time based on tenure with the company.”
A company representative from NCSoft gave a statement to Gamasutra. “We can confirm that due to the cancellation of unannounced projects, ArenaNet will make staff reductions. This is part of a larger organizational restructuring within NCSoft in the West.” The unnamed representative also mentioned that Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 services would be unaffected by the layoffs, and planned content for the games have not yet been canceled.
With reports of developer layoffs becoming more and more prominent as of late, the call to unionize from the AFL-CIO rings louder than ever after the open letter to Kotaku from Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. While some companies are announcing layoffs due to poor revenue streams this past year, as seen with ArenaNet and Nitro Games, others such as Activision Blizzard have still announced massive layoffs after an otherwise successful year. It will be interesting to see how the layoffs will affect the game developer’s thoughts on unionization after developers polled by the GDC were largely unsure if a unionization effort within the industry would succeed.