Layoffs at Turbine

Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons studio lays off unspecified portion of workforce due to "fluctuating market conditions" and regular business review.

The Boston area development scene has taken its second hit this week. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment confirmed to The Boston Globe today that it has enacted a round of layoffs at the Needham, Massachusetts-based Turbine Inc.

Turbine's office in Massachusetts now houses fewer employees.

"As part of the continual review of our business operations and fluctuating market conditions, we have had to make reductions in our Turbine workforce," a spokesperson from the company said. "The group continues to remain an integral part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment."

According to the report, Turbine had more than 400 employees before the cuts, making the studio the Boston area's most sizable studio. The layoffs at Turbine follow the closure of social game studio Zynga's nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts branch this week, which reportedly had about 50 staff.

Additionally, just this week Turbine announced a string of high-profile hires, including Elder Scrolls designer Ken Rolston and former Mortal Kombat developer Alan Villani. The company currently has 11 open positions.

Turbine is most famous for its free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing games Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online. The studio does not have any announced upcoming projects.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

0 comments
ecurl143
ecurl143

Tough times indeed.

It's not nice when this happens, I should know, the same thing happened to me in August this year.

Hope the guys and gals have got their portfolios in good shape because they're gonna need them.

XxTheEvilxX
XxTheEvilxX

Where you at EA? Where are your bogus claims this week that F2P is the wave of the future? I am looking but I don't smell your B.S. this week. I feel bad for those who lost their job. I hope they find better work. But this proves what most of us have been saying all along. If F2P and social gaming is where the future is, then the future is looking bleak. Because the layoffs keep coming. Meanwhile, a mediocre RE 6 is breaking sales records, AC 3 just hit the highest levels of pre-order sales in the history of Ubisoft's products, and COD Black Ops II is setting a pre-order record in the industry. Sounds like AAA titles are dying doesn't it?!?!

 

EA's lame attempt of trying to sucker us to F2P is turning out to be an EPIC FAIL.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

I guess Turbine had to find the "high-profile talents" salaries some how, Fuck the little guys, right?

params7
params7

so much for free 2 play.

Falru
Falru

That office looks like a junior high school.

ImpliedBunny
ImpliedBunny

HHHHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA ROMAN WOULD BE PLEASED !!!!!!!!!!

 

decoy1978
decoy1978

LotRO was an average game. I only tried it when it went F2P. DDO on the other hand, I bought that game... it seemed years ago when it first came out. Both games were not memorable and it shows because they went F2P after being a sub model. 

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

Terrible time to do so, both DDO and LotRO is getting fairly old. Best to get a new game out before the studio becomes too small to do anything and actually learn from your mistakes unlike Funcom.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

Why even bother with the flowery language? You aren't making money and you have to fire people to remain profitable...don't BS us. It can't be for the benefit of the investors because if I can figure out the true meaning upon a half glance I'm sure someone twice my age with more business experience isn't going to be fooled. Who's this BS for? So the people being fired don't feel so bad? lol

tgwolf
tgwolf

I know how they can get some more business...KEEP MAKING UPDATES for DDO! Also it might help to make the game a bit more playable, that meaning make TP a bit more attainable and have some drops from enemies.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

They shouldnt feel too bad. They managed to milk a couple of pretty average products for significantly more than they were worth.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Well, I hope those unemployed find work soon.

LeftyxLaura
LeftyxLaura

Wow....How tragic, and all in the Boston area with studios losing employees. I hope Turbine hangs in there ok. We still need Mordor made for LOTRO!

RogueJedi86
RogueJedi86

"Fluctuating market conditions"? Sounds like it's time for more "streamlining"!

 

(I'm making a joke on Zynga's statement from when they shut down a studio and fired a bunch of people earlier this week.)

blackace
blackace

Is anyone even playing the Lord of the Rings or D&D MMO's? I actually completely forgot about those games. I'm just waiting for Planetside 2. Started playing some GW2, but haven't played it as much as I would like.

King9999
King9999

Too many layoff news in one week. :(

mikezer0
mikezer0

In other words Guild Wars 2.

ggregd
ggregd

Fluctuating market conditions probably means GW2 and the Riders of Rohan expansion didn't sell well.  Speaking only personally, I've been playing LOTRO since beta and I don't have much interest in the Riders of Rohan because I'm spending all my time in GW2.  

 

IMO the biggest problem is 5 1/2 YEARS on and they're still only at the beginning of the SECOND BOOK.  They need to light a fire under the Fellowship and move things along at a faster pace - get to Gondor and Mordor and add the huge battles as a new feature.  Forget the peripheral stuff that isn't in the books and practically no one knows or really cares about like Angmar, Evendim, Dunland, Mirkwood, etc..

TheKeef
TheKeef

Sounds like they are robbing Peter, to pay Paul.

Realmjumper
Realmjumper

Too bad Asheron's Call 2 didn't succeed. Asheron's Call 3 anyone?

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Sounds like they shut down their afterburners....zing!

They switched from turbine power to nuclear power.....zing!

ChuffyChuff
ChuffyChuff

 @decoy1978 I found LOTRO to be memorable compared to most fo the EQ clones around, it actually has distinct classes which is unusual given that many games (WoW, Rift, GW2, etc) have gone towards homogenization, I've never played a class like Warden anyway else.

 

It was also memorable for having the best community in any MMORPG I've ever played, granted that isn't  saying a lot these days, but still.

 

As a game it is far more memorable than Rift for example, which has a sub.

 

As for going f2p, it seems the majority of games go f2p and of the few that don't most stagger on with a small playerbase, furhtermore they are not f2p as such they a hybrid model, many of those that still play have subs, the reason they went hybrid (or at least a large part of it) is it simply makes more money (DDO profits tripled when it f2p).

Jedi4ce28
Jedi4ce28

 @decoy1978  Yep, free to play works much better with asian mmos, they have a better grasp on how the dynamic works, and how to make the most of it. When american mmos adopt the f2p model, it almost universally means the game is dying and the company can't support it any longer with it's initial subscription based model. I respect the guild wars team, somehow they saw even years ago that the subscription model was not the way to go for mmos, so they never bothered with one. It seems like only wow can keep demanding a monthly sub and remain standing, all it's comp has to eventually go F2p to stay afloat.

Jedi4ce28
Jedi4ce28

 @PSYCHOV3N0M 

 

 It's not hard to figure out, when your company isn't making more money than they are shelling out, you need to lay people off. It's no shock the mmo market is a tired and beaten down horse, with no true innovations. Every mmo i test out you only see the same thing from the community, people sitting in the public channels going on about how the game is a rip off of warcraft. Most mmos now start to die literally right out of the gate (SWTOR anyone?) The mmo market is just too saturated right now, and trimming the fat is an inevitable result.

gufberg
gufberg

 @blackace I play Lord of the Rings online its an absolutly amazing game imo. According to mmodata some 250k people play it which makes it one of the biggest MMOs only second to the giants WoW and Guild Wars. It has a pretty stable playerbase.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

@mikezer0 If you read Revalations in the bible backwards, its says "guild wars 2 will be the end of the world".... oh no wait thats just a Funcom internal email.

IgotEpixx
IgotEpixx

 @mikezer0 Doubtful. Most people played GW2 for a few weeks, realised it lacked endgame and returned to their old MMOs.

gufberg
gufberg

 @ggregd I TOTALLY disagree. The attention to detail is what makes LOTRO immersive and worthwhile. You're not watching the theatrical edition of the movies. You're simulating the world itself.  If people dont have the attention span needed to care about details then maybe they should go back to their facebook browser 'gaming'. 

warriorpoetex
warriorpoetex

 @ggregd You are wrong. People want more Middle Earth, the problem is how they are doing their F2P model. Store spam constantly, even if you are VIP, shady half-truths to their community, and refusal to upgrade a seriously aged game-engine. Rushing to Mordor only ends the game ... Lore-wise, not much happens for a few thousand years after the fall of Sauron.

 

ggregd
ggregd

 @IgotEpixx  @mikezer0 There is no "endgame" (as other MMO's define the term) required.  A few weeks of fun is pretty good for a game these days.  You're not paying a subscription so maybe you could say you got your money's worth and move on.   You can grind for gear and run the same raids over and over with the Pandas if that's what you're looking for.

 

I feel bad for the people who power leveled to 80 and found they couldn't do the same old things they do in other MMO's.  I also seriously doubt they've seen and done everything there is to do.

Jedi4ce28
Jedi4ce28

 @ggregd  @IgotEpixx  @mikezer0 

 

 People play these games for different reasons, some like to explore, others socialize, some pvp and others like to raid, No play style is any less valid than the previous I am disturbed though with this latest trend of people saying "well you got your money's worth" GW and games like it are persistent worlds, they are technically meant to be played over the course of months or years. Some may find fulfillment sooner, others later, but it's up to the individual to decide when they've gotten their money's worth.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

 @ggregd  @IgotEpixx  @mikezer0 They still have a profit model. They need a big and strong community who will buy from the in game pay store. It's not sub based but that's just a tactic to get people in and hooked so they will purchase stuff in game. So yes they do need end game. With no endgame people will leave, the community will dwindle and the amount of money they will make on the cash store will slow. Then the updates will slow because of the lack of money then more will  leave etc. etc. Just because they don't come out and make you pay the 15 bucks a month doesn't mean they don't need a strong community who is putting money into the product. So ya endgame is essential to any MMO if it actually wants to have longevity and remain profitable. Up front money can't sustain updates etc. forever.