SOCOM, MAG studio rumored to close

Large-scale layoffs reported at Sony-owned Zipper Interactive in wake of Unit 13 release and possible project cancellation.

The studio behind the SOCOM series of tactical first-person shooters is rumored to be shutting down.

Unit 13 could be Zipper's swan song.

Kotaku is citing unspecified sources with the news that Zipper Interactive has had a project canceled and has been "in the process of being hit by layoffs" this week. While the report doesn't specify how many people are being cut, it does say "the scope of the layoffs appears to indicate a studio closure."

Sony reportedly declined to comment to Kotaku multiple times this week. GameSpot's own inquiry to the company went unreturned as of press time.

Zipper released the PlayStation Vita game Unit 13 earlier this month to positive reviews. The studio's last game before that was SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs for the PlayStation 3. That game launched in April of 2011, just days before Sony crippled its multiplayer mode by pulling the plug on the PlayStation Network for months as a result of a security breach. The following month, Zipper endured a round of layoffs that Sony confirmed as "normal business practice and a result of cutting back on production resources after the launch of two major franchises."

The other franchise referenced was 2010's MAG, a large-scale online FPS for the PS3. Other games to the company's credit include Crimson Skies and MechWarrior 3.

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181 comments
JOKER677
JOKER677

Yes, it has been confirmed. All I can say is Good Riddance, all fans asked for was a damn SOCOM 2 HD and you put some shytty CoD third person out aka SOCOM 4. Tried to cater to the wrong crowd and got burned...

SANDMAN201
SANDMAN201

*Sniff I will miss your good games Zipper.

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@RobertWampler Im not disputing that Xbox Live is better than PSN, it is. I just dont want to pay for online gaming. As for FPS games, yeah that market in the US is dominated by 360. But worldwide it is much closer, 360 is nonexistent in Japan, and Sony is dominant in Europe. I have played plenty of 360 games, I personally prefer Sony's exclusives. I personally like killzone, but saying shooters dont work on ps3 is ridiculous. I had black ops for PSN and there was nothing wrong with it and no problems with playing online. Does COD run better on 360, probably, 360 is a lot closer to a pc in software design, but the PS3 has plenty of advantages in its favor. God of War 3 and both Uncharted 2 and 3 would literally not be possible on 360, not solely because they would require multiple discs, but because they were built from the ground up for PS3. Most multiplatform games are built for 360 so they dont port well. PS3 is more powerful, but not greatly so, and in some metrics it isnt. Its hard to compare the systems head on, but a few years ago technobuffalo.com did a great comparison. While they scored the ps3 higher in their comparison, i think that may be more subjective, but the breakdown of hardware design is well done and in that regard they were very fair (their software comparison is where i think it is subjective).

RobertWampler
RobertWampler

@BravoOneActual I think he has hit it right on the spot. He pointed out a really good point these guys get tossed around alot now days layoff after layoff no one ever stay on one team for long if you are up on the list you have made games for all systems at one point it's just down to the bottom line more than none. "Without making commentary about their commercial success or the quality of their games, hasn't anybody noticed the recent trend of massive layoffs from almost EVERY company after EVERY major release lately? I think we're looking at the current state of the entire industry and we're seeing that it's no longer about tenure, but about being picked up as a hired gun for a production run and let go once the product ships. We see it in TV and film production, so it makes sense that it would happen here."

RobertWampler
RobertWampler

@Bigbudd0045 Have you ever had to download an update for a game off of PSN it's kind of a joke how long it takes to download something. at least on xbox you are paying for a service witch you get more for what you pay for and it's only 60 a year. thats only 5$ a month I have had a ps3 for a little over a month and their is so huge problems with the ps3 now the vita on the other hand i love just want to see more games for it. shooters just dont work on the ps3 at all i have mag and killzone and they are just not that fun at all. to make any type of money you have to make a game for both systesm any game that is on the ps3 just can't make any money and keep going it all comes down to business their is just more xbox's than ps3 with a better service sony needs to really rethink their game and how they are going to play.

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@steelmouth not particularly, I prefer my ps3 to a 360. I am not a huge fan of microsoft. Having to pay for online gaming....not down with that. Sony doesnt need to make 360 exclusives, they are in the hardware business and without their own exclusives they have nothing.

steelmouth
steelmouth

"sony may have to consider making x360 exclusives" lol i may have got carried away just a little there, but it would be totally cool if that happend right?

steelmouth
steelmouth

@Bigbudd0045 true and that room on the shooter market is on the x360,i know its owed by sony but they still have to make money and not close down so sony may have to consider making x360 exclusives @tisoyboy2 thanks, people need to understand if you goner release a shooter in the US and expect to maybe make profit there is only one console for that and its not a ps3

hairlessape
hairlessape

no, this can't be happening, i'm inserting fingers in my ears and humming.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Ir doesn't matter anyway, the days of SOCOM 2 and 3 are over. SOCOM 4 was so suprisingly bad it's obvious all Zipper can do is produce sub-par Call of Duty clones, and can't even do that properly.

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

@steelmouth You have a point about releasing some exclusives on Xbox for the devs to make more money. Don't understand all the negs. ....... Before the flames, I favor my PS3 over my Xbox but the truth is Zipper Interactive is a North America based developer and by the numbers the U.S. is dominated by the Xbox. A lot of exclusive haters aren't hating the games, they are just fueling the console war. I think SOCOM 4 would have done better as a multi-plat release. Personally, I liked Confrontations online play better tho.

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

@warhawk-geeb Ghost recon is a military shooter just like socom, rainbow six was anti terrorist. I was speaking in terms of squad based military games. Ghost recon was better then socom and I did not like the conflict series past the first game. After the first conflict the series fell behind and became outdated very fast and just couldn't keep up with the standards set by it's peers. Ghost recon > socom. RIP zipper.

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

but i love mag- its the only fps that supports the ps move gun and has huuuge battles! i hate logging on to mw3 to see 2 other players, but a 64 player minimum..

megakick
megakick

This is gettin old... No Sony is no better then any other publisher and game company I knew years ago.

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@Steelmouth Zipper is owned by sony so not happening. Second, worldwide sony is about even with 360, its only the us where it is dominant. There is only so much room in the shooter market, and it looks like CoD is sucking the player base out of most multiplayer games. Some drift off to Battlefield. What do you think this year will look like with CoD and Halo4? I wouldnt bet most games will do well. AC3 and Bioshock maybe.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@FreedomPrime Ghost Recon are you for real?? What about the old Conflict Games made my Pivotal Studios. That and Rainbow 6. Best squad based shooters around in my opinion, Ghost Recon was too slow-paced and distant :?

another_drew
another_drew

@Nodashi Socom not successful because it's "generic." How do you explain CoD's success?

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

meh, I never liked their games anyways. Ghost recon was the superior game in that genre of tactical squad based shooter's.

MNBeta03
MNBeta03

FPSs are getting old and they should not have dumbed down the SOCOM experience like they did is S4. This is what eventually comes when you try to be a "me too" company. Should have stuck to the core of what built their popularity a better developed the SOCOM franchise. I am not sad for them at all.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

To be completely honest here that Unit 13 game doesn't actually look all that bad - especially considering it's on a handheld, it looks decent. I think the main problem is Sony's advertising :? If they want one of their games to do well they should sell the damn thing to get some interest, all we see on our TV screens is real-life actors and CGI. No gameplay what-so-ever. Only the big-guns appear to get the full advertisement treatment, fair enough, but then you can't expect something to sell if no-one knows about it.

steelmouth
steelmouth

RELEASE THE DAMN GAMES ON THE X360 THATS WHERE THE MONEY IS

BravoOneActual
BravoOneActual

Without making commentary about their commercial success or the quality of their games, hasn't anybody noticed the recent trend of massive layoffs from almost EVERY company after EVERY major release lately? I think we're looking at the current state of the entire industry and we're seeing that it's no longer about tenure, but about being picked up as a hired gun for a production run and let go once the product ships. We see it in TV and film production, so it makes sense that it would happen here.

exclusiveburner
exclusiveburner

No surprise here.. Socom 4 was a stinking turd, and MAG was battlefield/cod without the graphics, destruction and the gameplay. Confrontation could of been great if Slant Six was given the proper time but nope. Unit 13 looks terrible. Socom series was all downhill after Socom 2. Socom 4 was the nail in the coffin. Seth Luisi sucks the big one.

jogunther
jogunther

SOCOM Combined Assault for PS2 is the game that hooked me on FPS` online. Its a shame they werent able to recreate their success after that point..

IceJester45
IceJester45

@CaptainHerlock, Changing consumer tastes could require first-party publishers such as Sony and Microsoft to relinquish control of certain properties. Sure, MS isn't going to let Halo go because the series is a huge seller. But, there comes a time when it makes sense to, say, let a Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon go to other platforms. I don't see why you're getting so defensive over this. @PixelAddict isn't slamming Sony or boosting Microsoft.

TheWaterbox
TheWaterbox

Damn. Old SOCOMs were cool. And MAG was a very original take on online FPS, I hope people learn from these guys.

Begundall
Begundall

sadly. socom is very unique shooter

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@PixelAddict You're forgetting that Bioware was bought out by Electronic Arts and they got Mass Effect lock, stock, and barrel. Yes, all of you who hate Electronic Arts so very much had to swallow your collective pride when Mass Effect 2 and 3 were released. Bill Gates didn't say "Golly gee, we're going to be swell guys and just share this game with everyone by golly". Do you think that Microsoft would just hand over Halo? Surely not. You'd have to pry that one from Bill Gates' cold dead hands, as the late Charlton Heston would say. So why would you expect Sony to just hand over Uncharted, inFAMOUS or Gran Turismo or any other game? Because you think they should be "swell guys"? So as "gamers" often say "to let more people enjoy it"? That's not the way business works, at least not in the non-gamer perceived world. And Dark Souls is the "spiritual successor to Demon Souls, which was published by Atlus Software. So you're not entirely accurate on either account. Zipper isn't suffering because of exclusivity, it's because of saturation in the market place, and changing consumer tastes. Over the last ten years people have moved away from SOCOM, and the SOCOM style of play. So being "swell guys" and just letting Microsoft have access to the series wouldn't do them a bit of good. Take an economics course and you'll hear "shift in consumer tastes" on Day 1.

shaksnet
shaksnet

I saw that coming from years ago! Zipper messed up big time when it let that crappy developer called Slant Six, take over the Socom franchise to release Socom Confrontation, and then Zipper released Socom 4 themselves, but by then it was already too late as the damage had been done to the franchise! I have myself bought Confrontation and got so disappointed with all the bugs and DLC that took forever to arrive. It was an unending nightmare for Socom gamers back then. I would say that definitely the lack of vision has led to Zipper's demise.

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

I just don't enjoy the number of FPS games made nowadays, they are all so similar. Make a different kind of game for once.

servb0ts
servb0ts

I wonder if FPS games will start to fade like some Reality shows.

badiie05
badiie05

hahah MAG i totally forgot about that game. But the older Socoms were awesome

IceJester45
IceJester45

I said this last year, but I think Zipper lost its touch a while back. I really enjoyed the older SOCOM titles. They nicely occupied an area between Operation Flashpoint's realism and Medal of Honor's run-and-gun action. Zipper chased that CoD dollar with the latest SOCOM game, though. And, it's hard to out-CoD CoD. Still, it stinks the dev team might be going out of business.

R2BDSi
R2BDSi

I always hate to see anyone lose there career!

DredWulf
DredWulf

If they made mechwarrior 3 and Crimson Skies I dunno why they can't just go back to MS and make stuff for them.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

dxBIGBOSSxb yes i side with you i play meny games ppl say suck. ign says silent hill downpour was big time fail but i enjoyed it very much. i hardly care what ppl who rev games think ill still try it if it looks good to me. as for COD you have no clue how much id like it see it crash n burn

soapman72
soapman72

They better keep the mag servers up

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@CaptainHerlock They already did with Mass Effect. Sorta. Sony sorta did with Dark Souls. You have to think Namco/From Software did better with the greater exposure. And by the way, i'm no system wars guy. I have all three systems but got Dark Souls for my PS3. Just because. Look, i'm all for competitive advantage, but if it means a dev house going out of business, what's the advantage??

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

@BillyColeman Lol. The same is said about a lot of games I've had tons of fun with. Just because Kingdoms of Amalur isn't Skyrim, people say it sucks, but to the contrary, I actually had far more fun playing that game than Skyrim. Just because Binary Domain, Vanquish and Space Marines aren't Gears of Snore people said THEY sucked, and in actuality they are much more fun. The same can't too well be said for shooters, because almost ALL of them have glowing reviews for following such an overkilled fad, except for shooter that do things far differently. Like say, Metro Last Light, Fallout, Far Cry, Crysis, or ARMA, which focus on player choice, open-exploration, a strong campaign (Outside of ARMA which is purely online), deep immersion, and innovation. While these do get good reviews, they're not AS GOOD as they should be, because OF F***ING COURSE, every god forsaken shooter MUST be compared to "Teh gretest gaem evar" Call of Duty (Which in itself is a clone of Battlefield and Medal of Honor).

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@CaptainHerlock Agreed. I miss the slow-paced, methodical days of SOCOM (even FTB on the PSP). Now it's all about spawn rushing and pray'n'spray.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

@surppo Well it may not be the tech but there is Planetside 2 and Dust 514 that will exceed that 256 player limit.

surppo
surppo

i hope they let people use their networking tech i wanna another 256 player shooter. i can't help but to feel if mag was third person n kept the socom branding they might have still been in business. mag was great tho got my clan from there gnb for life c y'all on 514

WithoutGraceXII
WithoutGraceXII

People loosing jobs is never cool, I don't care what they've made or how good it was.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@PixelAddict Do you think Microsoft would do the same with Gears of War? Or Halo? I've seen that same sentiment before that Nintendo and Sony should "just be swell guys" and that it would be for the "greater good of the gaming community", but it never goes the other way. It's only Sony or Nintendo, never Microsoft. SOCOM just doesn't have the same allure as it did back in 2002. The shooter market has been saturated. Everyone had to make a shooter, and now the market is flooded with them. SOCOM 4 wasn't a bad game, it just didn't stand out from the crowd. That, and this generation doesn't have the attention span to play a tactical shooter, and just wants to run around and blast things indiscriminately. I would have liked to have seen Zipper do something different, like Naughty Dog did with Uncharted and Sucker Punch did with inFAMOUS. But they locked themselves into making military themed shooters.

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

Guess this clears up the hopes for MAG 2 huh? Big fat "not gonna happen".

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

No wonder games take so long to come out: The people makeing the games know that when its out the door, so are they. Makes you wonder why anyone would even want to work in that business.

Jaw7765
Jaw7765

It's always unsettling to see any company fall, I mean you want them all to have some sort of chance to thrive. Lets face it though, Socom just hasn't been good for years let alone that Socom just can't stay the same. This generation compared to a decade ago just over look Socom. I just remember the PSP title doing well, but that just got hacked ridiculously. Yeah the first Socom was amamzing for its time...I'm so sick of the Call of Duty/Battlefield twisted era of FPS we're in.

jayjay444
jayjay444

socom on the ps2 was good but lets face it, its been rubbish ever since.