THQ Layoffs are "Just Business"

THQ Layoffs are "Just Business"

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THQ Vice President Danny Bilson says the recent layoffs at Kaos and Volition shouldn't be seen as anything more than a normal part of the development cycle.

THQ announced at the end of March that 16 people had been laid off from Volition, the studio behind Red Faction and Saints Row, and 17 from Homefront developer Kaos Studios. Layoffs are sometimes unavoidable and THQ is apparently doing all it can to help out everyone affected by the cuts, but it was still a disappointing surprise; Bilson said in January that the fate of Kaos hinged largely on the success of Homefront and while the game took a critical beating it was by all reports a commercial success for THQ.

Bilson said today, however, that the cuts were a normal part of the business and shouldn't be seen as anything more than that. "At a certain point as you come out from the lifetime of a product, there are people that aren't needed for another year or year and a half until you're up to the full ramp-up. So these aren't punitive measures; they're normal cycling of game teams," he explained. "If you said they shipped Red Faction and 120 guys were laid off, then we'd have something to talk about."

Bilson said the post-production phase of the development process, like pre-production, requires very few people, so once the actual production phase is wrapped up, cuts are often inevitable. "In a one-game studio like Kaos, there's not work for 100 people right now," he added. "That's kind of how that works. It's pretty normal. Out of necessity, sometimes through movement and lack of work, it just happens."

The actual percentage of employees affected by the layoffs is pretty tiny; Bilson noted that the 16 layoffs at Kaos were out of a total of 260 employees, which is surely cold comfort for those now looking for employment.

Source: GameSpot

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Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

Megacherv:
Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

Well, this is where your entrepreneurship skills come in! Become the next Notch!

Art Axiv:

Megacherv:
Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

Well, this is where your entrepreneurship skills come in! Become the next Notch!

But I'm not Swedish, I don't know how to make a game taste like meatballs!

-edit: Site ate my post and obviously didn't like it-

Megacherv:

Art Axiv:

Megacherv:
Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

Well, this is where your entrepreneurship skills come in! Become the next Notch!

But I'm not Swedish, I don't know how to make a game taste like meatballs!

You could ask at IKEA...

Megacherv:

Art Axiv:

Megacherv:
Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

Well, this is where your entrepreneurship skills come in! Become the next Notch!

But I'm not Swedish, I don't know how to make a game taste like meatballs!

So pretend youre Italian and make it taste like spagetti.

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OT: Its more evidence of Homefront not pulling in as much cash as they needed. If they did have enough cash they would have thier teams working on something new.

To think, someone said this industry was recession proof. Not when small time developers are losing to the countless half-assed Call of Duty clones. And considering Kaos made a half-assed Call of Duty clone...

Still, this is bad news. Sub par as Red Faction may be, these layoffs right when Saint's Row: The Third was announced can't be good for Volition, and Kaos...
...is a studio i know jack shit about, so i won't comment further.

Lay-offs in the teens? that's pretty tame. Just in the last few months we were seeing hundreds at a time.

gigastar:

Megacherv:

Art Axiv:

Well, this is where your entrepreneurship skills come in! Become the next Notch!

But I'm not Swedish, I don't know how to make a game taste like meatballs!

So pretend youre Italian and make it taste like spagetti.

image

OT: Its more evidence of Homefront not pulling in as much cash as they needed. If they did have enough cash they would have thier teams working on something new.

image

It seems something is very wrong here.

Just business, eh?

I didn't realise THQ was taking its cues from the East India Company.

Serenegoose:
Just business, eh?

I didn't realise THQ was taking its cues from the East India Company.

haha altho I can't say GeoHot is even close to Jack Sparrow, pardon CAPT'N Jack Sparrow, level of legendary

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Business. Always business.

Ultratwinkie:

gigastar:

Megacherv:

But I'm not Swedish, I don't know how to make a game taste like meatballs!

So pretend youre Italian and make it taste like spagetti.

image

OT: Its more evidence of Homefront not pulling in as much cash as they needed. If they did have enough cash they would have thier teams working on something new.

image

It seems something is very wrong here.

If I had as much money as them, I would do the exact same things.
And I'm sure you all would as well.

Also, and I the only one who reads "Meanwhile, at *insert place here*" in the voice of the announcer from Super Friends?

Still seems a bit odd, though. Red Faction Armageddon has undoubtedly moved into post production by now, but Saints Row 3 should be right in the middle of crunch mode. I wonder why they couldn't move those people over to that project? Unless they were duplicate positions and already had enough of those or something.

Zukonub:
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Business. Always business.

Yeah I don't think enough people know/have seen The Wire to get that reference but its still appropriate. Though I hope no one got their throats slit.

You know I think you'd find a very strong correlation between companies that use employees and throw them away afterward and companies that find it difficult to compete in sales with those who attempt to keep the majority of their employees for a career-length duration.

No ad hoc team of anonymous throwaways will ever produce work of comparable quality, with comparable efficiency, to a team that has been working together through several games and has had time to build strong skills specific to that work environment.

Compare Valve to any of EA's in-house sweatshops. Compare them by any metric: metacritic scores, gross sales, net profit. The businesses who think employees are coal to be burned up are probably behind in every conceivable standard of comparison.

More importantly, if the business really is cyclical, then why in god's name would you risk the PR nightmare of having to fire people every cycle? Why not simply use contract employees with renewable contracts?

Megacherv:
Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

You and every middle-class somewhat nerdy person in the United States. Make friends in the industry or get ready to hear this a lot. (Or open your own studio, make the free market work for you!)

KalosCast:

Megacherv:
Whenever I see something like this happen, I do worry quite a bit, since I'm hoping to get a job in the games industry in the future, and it'd be a pain if I got my degree and they just came back to me saying 'Sorry lad, we're overfull as it is

You and every middle-class somewhat nerdy person in the United States. Make friends in the industry or get ready to hear this a lot. (Or open your own studio, make the free market work for you!)

That's why I've opted for a 4-year sandwich course, 3rd year having a year's work placement in an actual studio.

And I'm a working-class nerdy person in the United Kingdom

Never work in the game industry. This sort of nonsense is business as usual.

Your managers will be pin-headed bean counters who don't care about your problems, just that you're not making them the amount of money they want.

Your employer will be a self-aggrandizing fascist who wants you to do what's best for him. Forget any social life you had before because you work for The Company now.

Your scheduler will be a total space cadet who thinks that you can do four years of work in eighteen months because his boss told him that eighteen months is a typical development cycle.

And finally, when all is said/screamed and done, when bridges have burned and your sanity hangs by a thread, you manager comes into the cube farm and says, "We've shipped! You're all fired!"

Welcome to the Biz. You can check out anytime you like and they hope you'll leave.

 

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