Publisher's finance chief Thomas Powell leaves to explore new opportunities; Austin studio receives "minor concentration" of terminations.
With the impact of Epic Games' sci-fi shooter Unreal Tournament III on the publisher's bottom line notwithstanding, the past few months have not been kind on Midway Games. In November, Midway heavily revised its full-year 2007 outlook, from $225 million to $160 million in net revenue. The revision followed a dismal third-quarter showing, which was beset by delays and lower-than-expected sales. The publisher's stock price has similarly tanked, plummeting from around $7 per share in mid-June to around $2.45 today.
Midway's tenuous financial position has apparently precipitated a change in management. The publisher has announced that Midway executive vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer Thomas Powell has jumped ship "to take a position with another firm," and Midway has said that it is currently searching for a permanent replacement for Powell. In the meantime, vice president of finance, controller, and assistant treasurer Ryan O'Desky has been named as Midway's interim CFO.
The publisher also confirmed to GameSpot that it had recently undergone a round of layoffs at its Midway Austin studio. "The minor concentration of layoffs in Austin was due to the completion of a project there," said a Midway representative. "No, this does not mean that the production in that studio is being scaled back, and we are still growing our other teams and studios to fulfill our project needs. The reductions were routine and a function of our current project requirements. We have not yet announced the next project being developed in the Austin studio."
Midway's Austin studio most recently developed BlackSite: Area 51, which received lukewarm reviews when released for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Even before the game shipped, Midway Austin creative director Harvey Smith reached a "mutual agreement" with Midway to ply his trade elsewhere after sharply and publicly criticizing the game.
Well, I think another big Midway mistake was abandoning the Hitz and Blitz series, and I mean the real Hitz and Blitz series with the crazy turbo charged arcade action, not those wanna be sport sim pieces of crap. Anyhow, they have quite a few worthy titles, like Ready to Rumble, The Suffering, Gauntlet, Shadow Hearts, Xenosaga, they just need to do a better job promoting their games, for instance, it didn't help that when you make an RPG series like Shadow Hearts that you make the 2nd and 3rd games easy to find cheap but people can only buy the 1st game online new for like $140. And Stranglehold was a cool idea for cans of the cult classics like Hard Boiled and The Killer, 'cause they love John Woo and Chow Yun Fat, but they're not something that's really pop culture enough for everyone to embrace. At this point, they need to merge with someone bigger and cheaply.
Hrm...not good. I would have thought that Epic would be eating their fingers right now, considering if this Publisher goes down, so does their Publisher for UT3, which is currently the game they're using for revenue themselves.
I Blame pricing. Pricing games at 50 dollars was bad enough but 60 for new gen just digs holes for yourself because people now have less money to spend on videogames because the cost of upgrading hardware and software is so much for keeping up to date that games people play generally are the better reviewed games. Otherwise you would be wasting time playing bad games that cost a lot.
Midway's last good games, I think, were The Suffering, Psi-Ops, and NBA Jam on the Genesis. If they would just get themselves together, stop fooling around with good ideas and bad engines, and get to making a quality game again...ya know, like the damn Psi-Ops sequel already!!!...then we'll be in a good place.
Midway only cares about 2 franchises and does nothing to think outside that box. As an Austinite I hope they fix it before they shut down Midway Austin all together. Personally I think someone should buy them out for a hundred bucks and cut their losses. Lots of talented people are wasting away there because they have **** timetables. Shape up or Ship out Midway.
@vampiredust99 - I thought Stranglehold was pretty darn good, but you're right, a lot of their stuff was rushed like Hour of Victory and Area 51.
Aside from UT3, most of Midway's games have been s*** as of late. They need to focus on quality not rushing out turd like Area 51
Hopefully this is a sign that Midway will get their stuff in order. We're now a long ways removed from when they put-out quality games in the mid to late nineties. And yes, we do need the 360 version of UT3 to come out.
while I am what you'd generally call a sony fanboy, I totally agree with you that it was a really bad move...
well, they were stupid to give the PS3 a timed exclusive on UT3, as it would have really helped their sales to have it out before holidays on the X360
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