Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Bad Taste of Layoffs

Why is it when ever a gaming studio layoffs off a whole slew of people, everyone gets a bitter taste in their mouth and right off any upcoming games by them to fields of failure?

It seems Funcom has gotten this treatment as of late, after having laid off about 20% of it's staff.

Now my first, knee-jerk reaction is to remember all of Funcom's other failures, and lump them all together to blame it on greed and/or incompetence on companies part, and start calling them names like Failcom, and thinking that The Secret World is heading for the toilet.

However, this reaction is of coarse, stupid.

While this isn't exactly pleasant news, and I'd rather it not happen if at all possible, this is balanced with the fact that they ARE a business, first and foremost. And layoffs happen.

The question is, why were they fired? And how does this affect upcoming games?
Now 20% is not a small number. With little over 300 staff, that's a good 60 people at least.
And no way will that not hurt them in some meaningful way.

At the very least it will delay The Secret World by several months.
However, will it reduce the overall quality of the game?

I don't think so.

It entirely depends on what the people were working on when they got laid off.
If they were working primarily on AOC, and were fired because they sucked evidently, well then that really won't affect TSW much, other then slow it down due to less manpower.

And that's really all this likely is, manpower. More than likely, all the brains of the outfit are still well and truly employed, and they have, by a country mile more impact on the quality of the end product.

It's more likely than non-essential staff were let go, and not the people that are in the middle of working on their upcoming game, which is probably the only thing that can pull them out of the fire at this point.

So can they still put out a great game? Yes, I see no reason to show that it a hopeless cause.

But does it make me doubt them a bit? Naturally, they don't exactly have the best track record, but we'll see in time.

However, even after all this, I can't help but feel a bit bitter, as we have seen this play out before, for craptastic results. (ie, Warhammer Online)
And even if the people fired did suck balls, I'd still rather find a way NOT to fire them. (ie, paycuts)

Because I feel if your going to cut jobs, start with your own.

But who knows, maybe trimming a bit of fat might be good for them in the long run.


No comments:

Post a Comment