Hasbro Replies to Rumors

Company confirms Alameda and Chapel Hill studio shutdowns and talks about its next move.

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Early Wednesday morning, GameSpot News spoke to Hasbro Interactive's (HI) director of public relations, Laura Tomasetti, who confirmed that the company is closing down its development studios in Alameda, Calif., and Chapel Hill, NC. The paring down of developers sends 70 workers in Alameda and 25 workers in Chapel Hill on the search for new jobs. Development of games at those studios will be moved over to HI's Hunt Valley, Md., studio.

She also confirmed that Hasbro and MicroProse will stop building high-end flight-simulation games like the Falcon series. Instead the companies will focus on more-consumer-oriented simulation titles. And while MicroProse's most revered series to date has been killed, Hasbro Interactive will maintain the MicroProse brand with its upcoming games, which include Civilization III, X-Com, Gunship, M1 Tank Platoon III, and other unannounced titles.

Will this change the company's strategy, as it has been in acquisition mode for the past two years? Not really. Tomasetti says that Hasbro Interactive's strategy still remains the same, and it will still continue to evaluate other acquisitions in the future. And while the company says it will release fewer titles in 2000, it isn't because it is scaling back on product. Hasbro Interactive has released about 30 products in the last quarter, and it expects to keep selling those products to consumers well into the new year. And RollerCoaster Tycoon has remained on the top ten sales lists since its release. As Hasbro Inc. appears to be scaling back, HI will be putting more money into research and development than it had in 1999.

What kind of titles can gamers expect from the company? HI realizes that it has "built a strong breadth of titles" and wants to make sure that it gets as many of these titles into players' hands. Potential targets for new lines of games will come from Hasbro's most resent acquisition, Wizards of the Coast, and its popular and well known brands - Magic: The Gathering and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

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