SOE sends 41 staff packing

DC Universe Online and Free Realms developer cuts 5 percent of workforce from payroll to "increase operational efficiency," cut costs.

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Last month, Sony Online Entertainment boasted of a successful launch for its Free Realms massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which saw more than 3 million users sign up within its first seven weeks of release. That wasn't successful enough, apparently, as today the developer confirmed for GameSpot that it had instituted a round of layoffs.

SOE is currently working on a variety of games, perhaps none more anticipated than DC Universe Online.
SOE is currently working on a variety of games, perhaps none more anticipated than DC Universe Online.

"In a move to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs, Sony Online Entertainment has eliminated 5 percent of its full-time workforce, equaling 41 people," an SOE representative said. Last March, the formerly semi-independent MMOG-focused studio was folded into Sony Computer Entertainment, although it remains a distinct label.

In addition to Free Realms, Sony Online Entertainment operates the long-running EverQuest and EverQuest II MMO games. It also has a number of anticipated titles in the pipeline, including The Agency and DC Universe Online. When asked where the job cuts were made, an SOE representative declined to elaborate on the previously issued statement.

The gaming industry has seen several developers undergo staff cuts lately. Midway this week laid off its Chicago headquarters, shuttered its Newcastle studio completely, and gave its San Diego arm notice that it would be closed if a buyer for the studio wasn't found before September. Reports also emerged early this month that Damnation developer Blue Omega saw its entire development team eliminated.

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