Harmonix hit with layoffs

Rock Band studio said to suffer 12-15% staff reduction as part of restructuring efforts behind "current product development plans."


Earlier this morning, MTV Games confirmed for GameSpot that it had indeed ceased its publishing operations, even if the label as an entity would remain a bit longer. Times are also tough for MTV's once-flagship studio, as Joystiq reports today that Harmonix has laid off an unconfirmed number of employees.

Harmonix's recent performance has been a bit flat.
Harmonix's recent performance has been a bit flat.

"Harmonix is restructuring our organization to bring it into alignment with our current product development plans," the studio said in a statement also sent to GameSpot. "Unfortunately, this means reducing the number of full-time staff. We sincerely appreciate the work of each and every one of these employees. Harmonix is working to ensure that those affected are well taken care of as we make this change."

According to Joystiq's sources, the layoffs have affected approximately 12 to 15 percent of Harmonix's 240 employees. The studio's development pipeline is said to be unaffected by the cuts. Beyond additional downloadable content for the Rock Band platform and the Kinect-enabled Dance Central, the studio is also at work on an as-yet-unnamed 3DS title. The studio's last round of layoffs came in December 2009, when it cut 39 positions from its payroll.

In January, Harmonix was sold off to a private holding company affiliated with New York-based investment firm Columbus Nova. Though the exact value of the deal was not disclosed, the holding company reportedly assumed all of Harmonix's liabilities--reportedly valued at $100 million--and MTV Games parent company Viacom was afforded a $50 million tax write-off.

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