SCi slashes 200 jobs, 14 games

CEO says "SCi is in need of immediate change" as company sheds 25 percent of headcount, drops more than a dozen in-development projects.

It wasn't so long ago that Eidos was on its way up. The publisher successfully resuscitated the moribund Tomb Raider franchise with Tomb Raider: Legend, saw its CEO Jane Cavanagh receive an OBE from the Queen, and entered preliminary discussions to be acquired.

The publisher's fortunes have turned again, as the acquisition talks dried up, Cavanagh resigned under shareholder pressure, and now the company's prepping for a round of layoffs. New CEO Phil Rogers today unveiled a restructuring plan that will trim a quarter of the company's staff--some 200 people--with 14 unspecified games canceled because they were "unlikely to generate an acceptable return on investment or are not of appropriate quality." The company plans to reduce its annual operating costs by £14 million (approx $28 million) by the end of June, resulting in a one-off cost of £7 million ($14 million).

Roger's turnaround plan is threefold; to change the structure from a "centrally controlled development and publishing model to a studio-led business focused around cornerstone products, such as Tomb Raider, Hitman, Championship Manager, and Deus Ex"; to create a new brand, Eidos Play, focusing on casual gaming; and to make its distribution processes more flexible and efficient.

"To get SCi on track we have to act rapidly and effect change quickly," said Rogers. "We must allow the world-class people that we have within the Group to focus on strong, profitable titles which will create the value our shareholders deserve... I am confident our staff share this vision and excitement for the future, and determination to build a working environment where our innovation and creativity can be commercially realised."

SCi also indirectly addressed the recent rash of mergers and acquisitions in the industry, saying that the board of directors isn't "encouraging offers" for the company. However, given the consolidating industry around it, SCi will consider any "sensible offer... or proposal for crystallising value for some of the group's IP..."

Along with the restructuring plan, SCi laid out its financial results for the six months ended December 31, 2007. The numbers back up Rogers' call for immediate change. Despite a record-setting holiday season for the industry, revenues for the period were down about 2 percent to £73 million ($146 million). And thanks to £79.6 million ($159 million) in development costs, SCi posted mounting operating losses of £81.4 million ($162 million), up 350 percent from £17.9 million ($36 million) posted over the same period the year before.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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117 comments
prico07
prico07

Does anybody leave their computer chair long enough to notice the economic decline we are going through. Of course they are going to scrap rubbish games, they are going to carry on with the good games that are going to make money, why do any of us care how much of a profit they are going to make because making the better games is going to benefit us

Jondavisx
Jondavisx

Hey Raidumn, did you ever stop to think that if they didn't make cut backs and lay people off, that their entire company could go into chapter 11 and everyone on there staff would be out of work.

stalepretzels
stalepretzels

Man, I hope that Thief 4 wasn't one of those games that they canceled, assuming that they were working on it. I would CRY A FREAKING LAKE. I hope that they don't go under. Then we will have no hope of ever seeing another Thief game.

Krazy-K
Krazy-K

You got to do what you got to do to stay alive. Hopefully the Tomb Raider and Hitman franchises will stay alive as well.

Raiden1000002
Raiden1000002

i always hated eidos they only care about $$$ (you can tell cause they keep making tomb raiders so often) the only cool game they made was deus ex

Strigidae
Strigidae

I guess I understand if they have to start making horrible games to save the company/Tomb Raider/Hitman.

ParaBellum71
ParaBellum71

Proves that a company would rather go mainstream then actualy put the effort in to produce a rare game like deus ex or chronicles of riddick or any other game that you didnt expect to be good but the next day you go out and buy it because apperently its the new cat's meow.

bokaj70
bokaj70

Profit for them selves are top priority to stay in buisness at all and a basis for making value to costumers. This applies for all in this industry and just in general .. don't be naive.

cruisin4bruisin
cruisin4bruisin

it's too bad they aren't seeing the big picture. it sounds like they are more concerned about turning a profit for themselves and their shareholders than they are about providing value to consumers.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

They seem to forget that all those 'big profit' titles began just like those 14 unspecified games they dropped... fresh new ideas in programmers heads. It's a shame, we are obviously not going to see anything fresh and new or entirely entertaining from SCi any more.

CureTheWorld666
CureTheWorld666

wow. all that guy said was " we don't care about making a game for the sake of making a good game, all we care about is how much money we get out of it." which is understandable that he'd want to make money , but to the exclusion of all else? that's not good. thats your standard corporation corruption right there. it starts with the layoff. ruining hundreds of lives. then the constant obsession with profit above the welfare of your employees and sometimes even your customers. i really hope it doesn't get that far. they'd better not have dropped Just Cause 2 it's one of the best games coming out this year. and who wants casual gaming?hardcore gamers are gonna be left out in the cold! that's horrible! i want games like JC2, DAH3, Prototype, GTA4, The Darkness2 Estacado's Wrath(i made that up) another Armored Core, and another Assassins Creed before the year is up! cmon! crappy games like Viewtiful Joe1-2 came out within a month of each other! (i have 2 subsequent issues of PSMag and there's an ad for Joe 1 one the first and an ad for Joe 2 on the second. Natch.) i mean look at Lair. one bad mistake and the whole game crashed.. maybe this is SCi's bad mistake. but we'll have to see, won't we.

alberto2045
alberto2045

what I just read that they were coming out with a new Tomb Raider are they dropping it also

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

no we don't want casual games. The people who were around when tomb raider, hitman, Champ Man and Deus Ex all began have outgrown your "casual" games. We are all 10 years older than we were, so don't expect casual kiddy games for people with the attention span of an amnesiac gnat.

Obliterati
Obliterati

Ha. After their recent antics, here and elsewhere, I can't say I feel sorry for them. Maybe this new CEO will inspire some fresh ideas, like actually making games that don't suck, and responsible advertising. That would be novel.

Lost_forgotten
Lost_forgotten

I hope they put out a new Legacy of Kain game, if they don't it is the biggest mistake they could make.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

rise and fall of sci, i hope things will be better for them, it's too bad, they had to lay off their employees, deus ex returning sounds good, but it's been a long time comming, they shouldn't have focused on tomb raider as a supporting title for such a long time, hopefully the next deus ex title will be better than the second one, and return to the ideas that made deus ex 1 such a great game...

walrus1
walrus1

How about they return to making good games like the first deus ex? And not crappy spin off titles?

NandoSupes
NandoSupes

@lowerpass I agree with you totally make good games!!,not some crappy title, that is going to be horrible.I'm sorry but it serves them well,Kane and Lynch is not revolutionary at all the game is a good example.well I guess they might be out of business soon,and I hope not ,I really do,but you need to make AAA titles to survive in the industry.

lowerpass
lowerpass

please for god sake we do not want any more caual games. It is really hurting the hardcore gamers like us. We want games like Hitman 5, Legacy of kain not games like wario ware because they suck.!!

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

Also the fact that they're now going to respect the developers (studios) ever more it does help to uplift my hopes that Deus Ex 3 will be something really special. Probably not that special, but very mature, & polished, nonetheless, though I do realise that the gameplay mechanics can be dumbed down a bit to work on the consoles, unfortunately.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

Yeah. Good move for them. I hardly have heard of any standout game from SCi (Not Eidos, as I am familiar with most of their new games & brands whenever they announce them), coz they're just plainly forgettable. And... where the hell is CARMAGEDDON!!!???!!!! Please you must keep the fast-paced, and smooth-flowing magic of the original Carmageddon into a new game with updated graphics! Got me?

Warghost2k
Warghost2k

Maybe EA should leave Take-Two the hell alone and use their bottomless pockets to help out a company like SCi.

onuruca
onuruca

i don't get it. so now hitman5,jc 2,k&l 2 will be published by another publisher? but eidos bought IO so we will not see k&l 2 and hitman 5 ? :S:S: i might just kill myself.

camichan
camichan

I hope this "casual gaming" thing isn't based on the late success of the Wii. If so, if it turns out to be a fad and only the hardcore gamers are once again left standing (since we are lifers when it comes to games) then this strategy will leave them with no base. This CEO better hope the casual gaming trend is here to stay.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

Best story photo ever, because I gotta say, I'm a huge Michael Bolton fan.

Brmarlin
Brmarlin

I'm just hoping that Hitman 5, Just Cause 2, and K&L 2 are still going to be good. And that for the love of god they don't announce a new Thief game. That series died with Looking Glass Studios.

Bigred_Machine
Bigred_Machine

what if people needed these jobs to live a decent life

Swampthing
Swampthing

Somewhere... Jeff Gerstmann is smoking a Cuban cigar laughing his butt off...

WhitePointer
WhitePointer

"centrally controlled development and publishing model to a studio-led business focused around cornerstone products, such as Tomb Raider, Hitman, Championship Manager, and Deus Ex" How about a new Legacy of Kain game? Sacking 200 people though it not cool (I know what it feels like as it's happened to me a few years ago too). I hope those guys find other work soon. White_Pointer

Pete5506
Pete5506

That is so bad, just drop people

zhivago_x
zhivago_x

People I loved the original Deus Ex but if the third part is going to be any similar to the second I am not interested. I personally love the Hitman series and I must say Kane and Lynch turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I consider a Thief a basically a dead franchise since it's been a long time since any sequel was made. And neither Thief or Deus Ex or Hitman are casual games franchises.

necronaux
necronaux

What a horrible decision. They need to fire this guy and fast. "Studio led business" can only mean they'll capitalize on big name titles (e.g. movie-tie-ins : release cheap, crappy games just to make a quick buck on the popularity of a newly released movie). "Focusing on casual gaming" I take to mean that there will be no more advanced, innovative, expansive games. They'll go for quantity over quality. Make a quick buck, and if the sales drop off fast, just come out with the next title. This definetly will kill off the company once and for all. It's too bad, I was looking forward to the next installment of Deus Ex.

Demmi_Argo
Demmi_Argo

If Edios actually cancels a new Deus Ex game and Hitman 5 then they obviously don't know what the hell they're doing. Hitman: Blood Money oficially brought the game series into the mainstream limelight and if they bail out now they're going to lose a huge amount of provits.

AceCometh
AceCometh

Sequals and casual gaming. I guess I won't be buying anything else from them. If every company follows this trend, hardcore gamers (like myself) are going to have to find a new hobby! Not cool.

decoy1978
decoy1978

What they need to do is focus on original games and stop churning out sequels every other year.

ehuman
ehuman

Casual gaming? This studio is in for a downward spiral.

Proust
Proust

Oh God, here we go. Another company shifting all its money to sequals and casual games. They will probably fail and that isn't a bad thing. I haave no more sympathy for a studio that wants to eliminate creativity to eliminate risk. It doesn't work and it isn't what created those hot franchises to begin with.

thepuzl
thepuzl

I just don't like the words "casual gaming" and "deus ex" in the same sentence.

raverrozza
raverrozza

gta on the wii??? dont be silly. at least games on the 360 and ps3 are comparable and the developers can make them very similar in graphics and size of game. they would have to rape the 360 and ps3 version to allow the wii to run it. can u imagine the wiii running call of duty 4?? plus the reason the wii has sold so well is alot of casual gamers and family gamers. so its not going to pay off for rockstar to put it on a wii. man up and buy a 360 or ps3 to play the real traditional games. the only way to get the most out of gaming is to have a ps3 or 360 AND a wii.

TraAus
TraAus

As long as the 3rd Deus-Ex doesn't suffer any quality (or worse cancellation) then this doesn't bother me much. It dose suck though. Think of how much creative potential was cut from the company :(

mariomusicmaker
mariomusicmaker

i think this was the company that made carmagedon, they where my favorite company until i discovered valve in 99 ... :'(

nappan
nappan

I'm all for multiplatform releases, especially of a game that will probably be as good as GTAIV, but I don't see how the Wii could possibly handle it. I'm not trying to get into console war territory here, I love the Wii for it does well, but 3rd party games are NOT what it does well.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

ea should take over gta developer and release it on wii as well ,,, im sick of rockstar putting stuff that would be good and fun on other consoles i want it on all 3 simple as that

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

its simple team up with free radcal for timesplitters 4 on all 3 consoles and make it 10 x better then 3 and halo 3 lol , watch stocks etc fly

tjdeep_2007
tjdeep_2007

i want hitman5........take u r time...eidos SCi

Maersyndel
Maersyndel

Give them time. They have to focus on the bread and butter for now....if they can get things going smoothly again we might start to see a few more titles being released.

zombey1333
zombey1333

Why would you want another Legacy Of Kain game? Ever thought about why Blood Omen 2 was so mediocre compared to the rest? It's because it's the only one in the series not written by the same person who wrote the other games. Unless they can get her back over there I really do hope I never see another one. I don't really want to relive the dissappointment. As far as everything else goes it's gonna suck seeing a company go hollywood and stop coming out with original ideas.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Its simple, release a new Soul Reaver game on PS3/360 and watch your stocks rise!