Sony Online Entertainment hit with layoffs

Everquest publisher cuts headcount by 35 following resource realignment; unclear which departments were hit.

A year ago this week, Sony Online Entertainment let 40 staffers go following the successful launch of the free-to-play Free Realms. One year later, the publisher and developer behind online PC titles Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, and others cut just over 4 percent of its workforce.

DC Universe Online still scheduled for November.

SOE confirmed the layoffs with GameSpot and said the move was an attempt to "better align the company's resources." In total, 35 full-time SOE employees were let go, though it is unclear if the headcount reductions were focused on a particular development team, or spread out.

"In a move to better align the company's resources against areas of growth that meet consumer demand in today's online market, as well as improve operational efficiency, Sony Online Entertainment has eliminated just over 4 percent of its full-time workforce, equaling 35 people," Scott Gulbransen, Sr. Director Global PR & Corp. Communications told GameSpot. "The changes will better position SOE to deliver against its emphasis on developing games for a wider, more diverse audience and remaining a worldwide leader in online gaming."

SOE currently has multiple projects in the works for the PC and PlayStation 3, including The Agency, Magic: The Gathering - Tactics, Star Wars: The Clone Wars Adventures, and DC Universe Online, which is due out in early November.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

54 comments
Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

I feel bad for the people that got laid off. i hope they all find future endeavors. In any case i will say the game does look pretty good and i hope the gameplay turns out good as well cause i'd be interested in playing this game on my ps3 or pc

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

it's always sad when more people become unemployeed. =(

toddx77
toddx77

@Jawehawk-DK Your right Uncharted 2 did get more awards than Left 4 Dead and as I said earlier it goes back to opinion. @organbank Yes I have. I have recently began playing RPG'S and shooters for pc now and I have Dragon Age on ps3 and pc. While I never had any problems with my ps3 dragon age besides an occasional freeze a few time I found the ps3 version to be somewhat boring. At first I enjoyed it but than began to not find it as entertaining because I wasn't doing much with the control. As compared to playing it on pc now I am finding it much more enjoyable and feel like I am doing more. I heard somewhere that dragon age was only one consoles because EA made Bioware do so. From my experience I wouldnt say Dragon Age on consoles is a bad game, but can be boring and a bit more difficult. Im playing on the same difficulty and I have rarely died on the pc version as compared to the ps3 version. I guess I should maybe reword what I have to say. Instead of selecting certain companies as making "good games" I think that if game companies would just focus on 1 or 2 games at a time instead of trying to rush out as many games as possible the games would turn out to be better and sell better and with more companies making good quality games that leads to those games selling and more money going to the companies to pay and keep their employees.

organbank
organbank

@toddx77: You are joking right? EA/Bioware do not take the time to make good games. Have you ever played DA:O on a console? They didn't even bother to Q&A the game before release. Both console version are so buggy that the game is almost unplayable if you trigger any of the dozen currupt saved bugs in the game. The fact that they didn't even botherto fix any of these bugs, dispite the countless threads which tested and replicated the bugs is a joke. Instead they slap out more buggy DLC for the $$$. EA/Bioware customer support is one of the worst in the gaming industry. If you have a problem they will direct you to EA customer support. When you log a problem at EA customer support, EA send you to EA/Bioware forum, and then EA/Bioware will tell you to go to EA support. Its a total joke and EA/Bioware are a crappy developer who make crappy bug infested games.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

Why are people comparing Naughty Dog to Valve? It sucks to lose your job but it seems there is too much MMO game.

green_dominator
green_dominator

@N0tYrBeezin There were far too many MMO games out at the time, at least it seems like there were.

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@green_dominator Get your facts straight, Ultima Online came before Everquest.

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

@toddx77 While L4D and it's sequel aren't bad games by any means. They are very overrated. They both have a ton of problems, that Valve simply aren't going to fix. And why is that? Well, because that won't bring them money. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't U2, get a lot more rewards than any L4D game?

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

@HavocV3 I personally could never get into the whole Half Life thing. I own both L4D games, and while they are fun, they are incredibly flawed aswell as hugely overrated. Maybe you should play Uncharted before talking aye?

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

@egilskal I honestly have no idea what that means ^^

egilskal
egilskal

@Jawehawk-DK Ever heard of 'Valve Time'? lol

toddx77
toddx77

@Jawehawk-DK As I said a "bad" or "good" game is mostly opinion but I was referring to how all those companies games are well received overall. You my not have thought Left 4 Dead was perfect but it was ment with critical praise from almost everywhere and and won numerous awards. That was my point, that all games made by those companies go on to get high praise and awards.

Inconnux
Inconnux

SOE had success with EQ1 and decided that they didn't need customer service... then the completely bungled SWG and lost most of their subscribers... EQ2 is an ok game, but when it came out you needed a bleeding edge system to get it to work and Vanguard was a terrible bugfest.

Bufta
Bufta

Erm Naughty Dog did Jak n Daxter 1 and 2 and uncharted 1 and 2 not a massive catalogue of games but all are quality through and through.

parhar67
parhar67

Jawehawk-DK LOL "Valve Cannot be compared to naughty dog" You used L4D as a comparison? Flaws or no flaws L4D was a fun game. How about that other game Valve made? What was it called? Oh right Half life? How about portal? Counterstrike? Valve is a more successful company than naughty dog. Name something else naughty dog has done besides uncharted? BTW gamespot gave L4D a 9.0 out of 10. You consider that a crap games. So the better games like half life and portal must blow anything naughty dog has made out of the water. Now i also know this site is ran by ps3 fanboys so i wouldnt be suprised if i got thumbed down.

theslimdavylp
theslimdavylp

Whether you like the game or not, it's sad when people lose their jobs, the economy sucks

luneth77
luneth77

@JtAgentX That's what "Layed off" means. They weren't fired, and they weren't doing anything wrong, the company just decided that it didn't want to continue employing them.

HavocV3
HavocV3

Jawehawk-DK _____ Half-Life series? hope you weren't serious about the comparing thing, because Valve is above and beyond what Naughty Dog has ever done. and L4D2 corrected a lot of flaws. maybe you should play it.

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

@toddx77 Since when are Valve a company that take the time to properly make a game? You know about L4D? First game was very fun, but had a ton of flaws, that was never corrected because they then decide to release a second game only a year after. Second game is of course also filled with flawes, and Valve isn't going to do anything about it. Valve can't in any way be compared to Naughty Dog.

toddx77
toddx77

Not to sound like a fanboy or anything but I think more game developers should took a page from companies like Bioware, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Valve, and Blizzard. They take the time and effort needed to make good games and it shows. None of those companies have ever made a bad game. I know "bad game" is an opinion but when you look at critic ratings the games for those companies tend to always be ment with praise for the most part. By having a smaller number of employees they have to pay less people and can focus on working on 1 game at a time to make sure its perfect and having a better chance of it being something more people would want to play, thus having it get good reviews so more people buy it. The point I am trying to make here is that if more companies were like Bioware, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Valve, and Blizzard we might not be having this problem. I havent heard any news of any of those companies laying people off.

Jean_rainier
Jean_rainier

Question, what are the procedures involved in being a game tester? Are there any skill involved tasks which would have required training?

pure_impact
pure_impact

I worked for sony and midway in the past as a tester and they both are cheapasses. This is no surprise to me. You want gaming job security? Become a PROGRAMMER! Seriously!

JtAgentX
JtAgentX

Whats sad is that they probably didn't get fired for any legit reason.....

Diddies
Diddies

@monson21502 Well it seems like you don't know what a game tester does. A game tester doesn't tell you if a game is good or bad. If you tell a company that then they will just fire you on the spot. A game tester just plays to look for bugs, glitches, etc. A game tester will get shoved away if he tries to tell the dev. what would be cool in a game.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

I love how these companies try to justify their actions by using the lame excuse of "" Yeah, tell that to those 35 people's families. You didn't cut 35 people off with the altruistic intent of "becoming a better competitive company;" you did it to make sure the big wigs up top will still get their X-mas bonus this year.

monson21502
monson21502

hope they were game testers. when i pay 60 bucks for a game that sucks. i would like to find them and use their ballsacks as puching bags.

monson21502
monson21502

sony always trying to save money, gotta hate em:P

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

I would have felt sorry for them, I used to love infantry, but then they made it a subscription only game and ruined it!

GSVale
GSVale

I used to be really angry at SOE, especially John Smedley who's still working there for some reason. Now with so many other companies filling out the MMO market, putting out much better games, and showing up with some actual customer service they just seem irrelevant. And that's a good thing.

Gruug
Gruug

The only game I am mildly interested in from SOE is The Agency. Even then, I am saying I will be a part of that. SOE just has been to willing to go "generic" and not make anything good.

CaptainAhab13
CaptainAhab13

Just keep EverQuest alive. Please. Still fun. :D

stakex007
stakex007

@green_dominator - Theres two massive blunders in you're post. The first and funniest is the fact that Star Wars Galaxies was actually developed by SOE, and not some other companie as you say... which you should know if you read the article because its in the second sentence (which also implys you like a more recent SOE game by the way you state it). Then, also a major MMO history blunder... Ultima Online came out BEFORE Everquest. As for the article, its a same to see things going back for SOE to be honest. Back in the early days of SWG there was such promis and hope... and now, it is lost.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

Maybe if Stinger reduces his wage he could keep thoughs employees. After all he makes more then three times as much as Iwata at Nintendo.

lilmp89
lilmp89

Gah! Too many layoffs happening this month =( Best luck to the affected workers, hope they can find jobs again

green_dominator
green_dominator

What do they expect, they had the top spot for awhile when they launched Everquest but since then more companies popped up releasing games like Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies and WOW to name a few..... None of the MMO's under SOE's banner are any good or so I've heard but those games a few years back, Champions Of Norrath and it's sequel were pretty good if you didn't mind a mindless dungeon crawl.....

S2DP
S2DP

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

luffy11234
luffy11234

sony apparently was just on a rampage because of something. was the canceling of brutal legend 2 so much sony went nuts?

airshocker
airshocker

I don't think this has anything to do with the PS3. I think it has everything to do with SOE being completely inept at anything they do. Their MMORPGs aren't popular. Until they make something that the mainstream player can enjoy, that is actually well-thought out and well-implemented I don't foresee them being a major player. Thus they will continue to lose money.

XanderZane
XanderZane

I'm not surprised. Sony has been losing money ever since the Ps3 launched, so they have to do something to even things out. Most of Sony's online games are hit or miss. I remember beta testing the awful Everquest Adventures for the PS2. It didn't even have a map. The game was a confusing mess and it still got released. I think it lasted a year. EQ2 however was a much better product. The only bad thing was it got released around the same time as World of Warcraft. Otherwise, I probably would have played EQ2 for a longer period of time.

nevryn
nevryn

@Reiken37 Well considering gaming is only a very small percentage of either MS or Sony, I don't see them dying any time soon, even if everyone in the world just stopped playing games period. The only company that would be in trouble in that case would be Nintendo since they focus primarily on gaming. Furthermore, if such a big company as MS or sony actually did go under, everyone else would be going under too so gaming would be the least of our worries.

HavocV3
HavocV3

Reiken37 _____ SOE isn't affiliated with the Playstation brand. and why would you wish that Microsoft employees lose their jobs? they lost 1,500 last year. which is rather small compared to Sony's 15,000 regardless. whatever the attitude, it's pretty narrow-minded and inconsiderate.

Reiken37
Reiken37

It'll be a shame if Sony is the first to fall of the Big Three. I had my hopes up that it'd be Mircosoft. I still think that it could happen, especially come next generation.

Serious
Serious

Just go to show that the software development industry is not the way to go at this time if your thinking of entering that field.

saturo123
saturo123

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

Clone Wars Adventures? Never heard of it, yet I was tracking it. What did it used to be called?