Funcom initiates 'temporary' layoffs

The Secret World developer responds to underperforming revenue from game with some staff reductions.

The Secret World developer Funcom has instituted layoffs in response to poorer-than-expected revenues for the game. While the studio did not comment on rumors of the changes impacting as much as 50 percent of the company, it issued a statement to GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb confirming that some staff reductions are part of previously announced cost-saving measures.

The extent of the cuts are secret, too.

"Funcom is in a process of reducing operational costs and this process includes temporary layoffs as well as other initiatives," the statement read. "As we are currently in the middle of this process we can not provide any further comment at the present time."

The Secret World received mixed reviews after its July release, which Funcom blamed for much of its reduced share value. Former Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas stepped down from his position for a different role in the company on the eve of the game's launch.

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PoliteElliot
PoliteElliot

They're 'temporary' because Norwegian employment law allows companies to layoff staff for up to a year to enable companies to cope with unexpected downturns without permanently firing people. A company also avoids having to payout severance packages at a time of financial crisis.

 

However, if you were cynical & exploitative, I guess it would be possible to hire massively for a project, say a new computer game, and then after release when many of  those keen young developers aren't needed any more, exploit this legal loophole and dump your staff with virtually no notice, no severence packages and a promise that 'maybe' you'll get your job back in a year.

 

Failcom has invoked this law/loophole 3 times after their 3 major MMO releases - Anarchy Online, Conan and now TSW. (I'm not sure but I think they may have done the same thing after the Conan exp).

dragonsama
dragonsama

Honestly with the games like Heavy Rain and to a lesser extent Alan Wake out there I think they should make "Dreamfall 2 - The Longest Journey 3".  I think it would do very well.

PiMpStAnLeY
PiMpStAnLeY

if this best describes it then.. i hereby nickname "Funcom" to "Failcom"

 

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Failcom&defid=3269130

 

serves them right.. its 2012 and many MMO's (especially free2play ones) are coming out, The Secret World is a "mediocre" subscription based SCI-FI MMO that had absolutely no chance at making any sorta money whatsoever and lets highlight som reasons why that happened:

 

1. failcom didnt allow any of the players to participate in closed beta (except for few preorders), but instead made a lame facebook app called "The Secret War" telling their players to try that out until the game is released.. people who preordered the game just to try it out had to wait for a specific date to enter closed beta testing, others that didnt like it recieved absolutely no refund whatsoever

 

2. failcom's CEO ditched the company and soon after, their market shares/revenue dropped enough to consider them bankrupt or nearly.. right now they have plans on contracting with LEGO to make yet another failed MMO to put them out of business completely

 

3. failcom threw the blame at several websites that gave them low ratings and bad reviews especially metacritic.. a movies/tv reviews website that barely has anything to do with gaming at all and probably doesnt give two craps about The Secret World nor failcom

 

4. failcom then takes out their own failure on the employees that developed the game.. saying they did a "lousy job" and their all fired to prevent losing further revenue? they've gotta be the stupidest video game company in the world (or 2nd to gpotato/galanet) lets look at a few things here:

 

- the auction house was never fixed, some talented players had to come up with their own way to create a 3rd party patch to fix it, and even with that fix only about 15% of the players had it, therefore they bought out the market and sold stuff while everyone else suffers and has to deal with QL10 greens

 

- instances was so lame, and entirelly bugged if u make one wrong move either your dead or the boss regenerates to full health, or your kicked from party.. yes very lame indeed

 

- the whole game was an open book! u can get the full walkthrough on google from various sites and go from QL1 to QL10 in 1 day.. everything was straightforward, repeative, and boring

 

- chat did not work properly, alot of people on youtube said it was fixed in 1.1.1? well no it wasnt. and now that failcom fired a large amount of their developers i doubt The Secret World would see any new updates or bugfixes anytime soon

 

- they rushed it out the door.. i mean as soon as i hit the character creation screen i almost logged out and uninstalled the damned game! i havent seen such poor work on a (2 year in the making MMO video game), where they brag about being the first ever game to make use of DX11 TXAA, their game did have adequately average graphics quality BUT very lousy animations, ugly avatars.. no matter how cute u make the girl look shes still gonna have a boxed shaped face, squared colored glasses and a large trenchcoat.. cmon! lousy physics, i could go on but im sure alot of people dont care or already have noticed these things

 

- they do not listen to player feedback at all, there was several key suggestions and helpful topics at the forums, which were greeted with "topic closed" or "deleted".. hell i left my two cents at the facebook fanpage only to find out that they revoked my commenting rights, what a lame company really.. failcom u let your players down, u let ur CEO down, u let your developers down, i dont think any future game would fix your current reputation i guess the best thing for you to do is make a smart move like SEGA did or go bankrupt.. its your choice

rarson
rarson

Here's a hint, Funcom: people don't want to invest money into playing your game when you're "temporarily" laying people off.

Bane69
Bane69

I wonder if the fact that the game has issues with 32 bit OS  has kept potential player away. I am just a casual gamer and  a32 bit OS work fine for most of my needs.   I was looking forward to trying TSW during the free weekend but the game does not work on 32 bit OS and Funcom has no plans to change the game.

 

How many potential users did Funcom eliminate by make this gaming decision.

dre256x
dre256x

Was expected really.. My faults are..

 

1) If your gonna make it sub base choose a low sub price, why does all company think there game is worth $15 a month, has anyone ever tried $5/month or even $10? 

 

2) The game gets old fast, and its appeal to a small mmo crowd..

 

3) Hybrid payment model would have been better, most mmo players nowadays push to end game within the free month period then judge that its not worth $15/month and say if the had a F2P option they would continue to play.

 

4) Biggest fault, Funcom has to appease investors so the high sub number there were expecting was moot at best .

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

They are blaming this on a poor metacritic score and poor word of mouth. Those aren't causes. They are symptoms of making a game people feel is really not that good, or average at best, and certainly one that is not worth buying and then paying every month to keep playing.

DITHRICH
DITHRICH

....EA's cancer is spreading to its devs.....tisc tisc tisc

BenFireFox
BenFireFox

acutally this mmo was one of the view where almost no mmo players where interested, if you look at the past or upcoming mmo releases between 6 month and from the playerbase of mmo players i know like 5% or less were interested in that one. They need to compete with guildwars2 swotr and and and :( sry but i had wondered if this mmo would be a success

Thirdrail1
Thirdrail1

Secret World is the only MMO anyone has come up with in years that I was actually interested in playing. If they'd launched with game time cards, I'd have bought a copy and tried the game. (After having my Mastercard stolen from three different gaming company databases inside of a year, and the unbelievable ensuing hassles, either you give me an option for prepaid cards, or we just can't be friends.)

thom_maytees
thom_maytees

This is unfortunte for those who work in the company.

FacesMan
FacesMan

Hey everyone, I know they suck, and I do feel bad for Funcom since I was an avid Anarchy Online player years ago, but lay-offs are by very definition just temporary. Just seem to be a lot of confused comments on this post as to why they stated temporary. It's different than being fired, and while still bad, is better than be completely let go.

 

The more you know. :)

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

Its like Funcom gathered all the information they have learned from the failed launches of Conan and Anarchy Online and Conan's transition to free to play; and threw it out the window. The layoffs could of been seen way before the launch of Secret World by the press largely ignoring the game and the very little consumer interest. The lack of anything innovative, the stale old tab target combat, monthly fees, story doesn't sell a mmo; doomed this project which had ample time to respond and fixed from their previous games experience. They are out of money and SW will not help them recoop the money to hire these temporary layoffs back.

XZeroKPS
XZeroKPS

This is Funcom. I feel bad that anyone ever has to lose their job, but again, it's Funcom. No one was expecting Secret World to do well if they played the beta for half an hour.

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

As much as I understand the game must continue, it sucks, sometimes, to see the game, a mediocre one at that, to take precedent over the talent that made the game.

 

Instead of pulling the game and making a better one, layoffs occur. 

 

It's the bitter reality of the game industry.

deviant74
deviant74

I just want to see spontaneous enemy's who have some goal.  The 1 to 20 standing in a group just waiting to get picked off just kills me.

ts997
ts997

i didn't even play the game and could see this coming.

it tried to step out of the box to much and tripped over in the process. grate games have grate management to follow or create success, it seems they didnt have any of that.

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

Temporary?

 

Not really heard that before..

 

strayfies
strayfies

I canceled this month and they charged me twice, *after* cancellation.  This game was awful but the way they conduct their business is even worse.  Also the Auction House that couldn't get rid of already-completed sales?  

 

Horrible.  

Stiler
Stiler

Man , the SHEER amount of stupidity and plan disregard for the TRUTH in these comments is mind blowing.

 

First off, The Secret world isn't "Bland" nor is it "Generic." It's actually quite a bit different then many mmo's and IMO it's what SW:TOR should have been/was expected to be. They focus a lot more on solo focus with actual INTERESTING storylines and characters, instead of sipmly generic fetch quests (which there are, don't get me wrong) they actually have decent adventure-like detective style missions that require you the playe rto figure it out for yourself rather then having a waypoint and directions to complete everything.

 

The atmosphere of the game is great, especially in motion, the art team did a great job at bringing a horror element to life, from the haunted "black house" to the run down carnvial in the woods and other things. How anyone can say it has no life/it's generic is beyond me.

 

Second of all @Dumachum If you actually bothered to even know what the hell you're talking about, Funcom has actually been putting out new content for the game and plan to do so each month.

 

It just annoys me so much, I hav eplayed mmo's since EQ and for a long time I've grown tired of them, I wanted something new/different and TSW offfers it more then most mmo's do with it's story focused gameplay yet reviewers/uniformed people bash it without even giving it a single fucking chance. Then they wonder why all we usually get is WoW clones and Call of Duty rip offs, maybe it's because people don't try/support the games that do somethign different.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

The Secret World hasn't sold well because people kept seeing these high end trailers with beautiful art and impressive effects but the finished product looks bland and lifeless, the game looks like a big rip to be honest......

 

Dumachum
Dumachum

So typical of Funcom they did the same with Age of Conan. Grab peoples launch money then fire everyone and all but stop working on the game completely. There is a reason why the term "funcom'd" exists, and all you people got it.

TheDesertEagle
TheDesertEagle

 @PoliteElliot

 That's exactly what every company does in the US. It's an absolutely common practice. They hire people for a project and when it's over they lay them off.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

 @DITHRICH Funcom is not an EA dev, is not an EA affiliate and indeed has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH EA. Idiot.

n0matter
n0matter

 @Thirdrail1 "(After having my Mastercard stolen from three different gaming company databases inside of a year, and the unbelievable ensuing hassles, either you give me an option for prepaid cards, or we just can't be friends.)"

 

Which databases?  Funny I don't remember reading about three separate financial data compromises inside of a year.  Actually, I can't remember even one where credit card numbers were compromised.  

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

 @DAOWAce OnLive did "temporary" layoffs the other day too. Guess it's the latest PR buzzword.

Odins_Fury
Odins_Fury

 @Stiler  @Dumachum I'm not hating on the game, but I did play during the free weekend.  I only have one question to ask.  Since the game has such a focus on solo play and personal story, and I believe that it does, it begs the question: Why is this game an MMO?  

 

I played for about 6 hours and I do understand that is not enough.  However, the game doesn't even attempt to point me in the direction of other players.  Aren't other players the reason for an MMO?  

sortajan
sortajan

 @Stiler oh yeah, look at the massive list of people calling TSW bland on this page. just scroll down a bit and it's just endless.

strayfies
strayfies

 @MJ12-Conspiracy It's extremely bland, and even fights with nominal mobs take too long.  Worse, the game's NPCs are incredibly self-involved and go on loquacious monologues, convincing unread gamers that they're playing something "complex". 

strayfies
strayfies

 @Dumachum I got it due to my girlfriend, but I did manage to talk her out of buying a lifetime subscription.  Any game with one of those is pretty much a guaranteed flop.  Funcom is awful.

XZeroKPS
XZeroKPS

 @Booshon I wish i could agree, but... you don't layoff people like that when games are doing well.

Stiler
Stiler

 @Odins_Fury There is group content, both in pvp battlefields (which grant your faction bonuses for every player in that faction on that server) and fusang which is the open pvp area and also for non pvp there are still group missions and things that you'll want to do with a group, dungeons, etc.

 

There's the polaris group quest at the end of the first area (6 hours you wouldn't have got that far yet) and a dungeon shortly after that.in the area you go to.

 

Each dungeon also has higher difficulty options to make it harder and things for groups.

 

Basically standard mmo group stuff is in the game, it's not just solo only, it's just solo friendly for the most part.

 

 

strayfies
strayfies

 @sortajan That's because it's horribly bland.  But every game will produce a long-winded defender. 

FacesMan
FacesMan

 @Gelugon_baat @inebriantia  Also, just to add on this some more and to answer you Gelugon, there are generally no agreements done when a person is laid off, sometimes layoffs can be strategic to get someone to quit while laid off because they can't afford to go without pay for as long as their layoff period, and make them find employment elsewhere. This is to save the employer from having to pay severance if they were to fire them. Also, layoffs cannot be indefinite. After a certain amount of time the employee MUST return however at that point the employer can then make the choice to permanantely terminate the employee and pay severance.

inebriantia
inebriantia

 @Gelugon_baat

 Actually, as a manager I can say that being laid-off is different from being fired. Typically, when I fire someone, I'll never hire them back.. ever. Usually it's performance based. Lay-offs are usually when we don't have the money or resources to keep X amount of employees on staff, due to whatever reason.Such as we can only pay 30 people, and we have 50, we gotta lay off 20 people, and it's usually not their fault. However, unlike with firing, when the situation improves such as the client base comes back/improves typically I hire them back, unless they inform me otherwise.

 

You're also more likey to unemployment benefits from being laid off as opposed to being fired, b/c it's not anything you did. When you're fired, you don't recieve government benefits typically, b/c you got fired b/c you did something wrong.

FacesMan
FacesMan

 @Gelugon_baat Suspension would imply discipline and is not the same. Also you should read the wikipedia page and you'd understand why wiktionary shows the definition that it shows and still proves my point. The wikipedia article even specifically covers why they specified including "temporary" in their statement.

Enundr
Enundr

 @Booshon i dont play facebook games , tried the beta for secret world , yea i  sorta saw this coming myself , sure they tried to do somethings that arent exactly seen in other games , but not exactly executed well enough to make it fun.

Booshon
Booshon

 @XZeroKPS Its still a great game and its  not for everyone,  most people play Facebook game are they good games?

jakerscythe
jakerscythe

 @Stiler It should never have been an MMO to begin with. The solo content works good with the investigation quests and the atmosphere and immersion factor. Which is then completely destroyed by 15 other people running around in ridiculous getups. PvP is a long running Funcom joke. Group dungeons are tacked on. Game has a solid length for a single player game, not for an MMO. But of course it's an MMO to justify subscription fees and online cash shop.

Booshon
Booshon

 @strayfies i think its bland for you because or you didnt play it or it was to  hard for you. TSW is not a bland game

Stiler
Stiler

 @strayfies Yep horribly bland, have you even played it? The missions and detective style ones are great compared to most mmo's as well as all the little homages to horror elements found throughotu the game (Lovecraft especially, even Jeffrey Combs who plays in a lot of lovecraft film adaptations is a voice actor in the game and makes a few jokes at his movie roles).

 

There's a reason the metacritic ratings for users is high com pared to critics. Because the people that gave the game a chance an dplayed it actually find it enjoyable compared to the people who bash it without even having gave it an honest chance.