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PlayStation Is Set To Lay Off 900 Employees Across Multiple Studios And Regions; Various Projects Cancelled

Another horrific blow to the industry

Following a dreadful trend within the industry, Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced that it will reduce its global workforce by 8%, resulting in the termination of roughly 900 jobs across various sectors.

Detailed in a blog post from SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan, the mass layoffs have been attributed to changes within the industry that necessitate drastic actions such as these. In the post, Ryan states, “We need to deliver on expectations from developers and gamers and continue to propel future technology in gaming, so we took a step back to ensure we are set up to continue bringing the best gaming experiences to the community.”

The blog post also contains a copy of the internal email that was distributed to the company, wherein Ryan gives further context to the life-altering decision by saying “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the long-term sustainability of the company and delivering the best experiences possible for our community. The goal is to streamline our resources to ensure our continued success and ability to deliver experiences gamers and creators have come to expect from us.”

Furthermore, this email details which studios will be affected, with PlayStation Studios London being shut entirely, while Firesprite will see a reduction. PlayStation Studios London previously worked on titles for the EyeToy, as well as various SingStar games, but had become known for VR development with their work on PlayStation VR Worlds and Blood & Truth. Likewise, Firesprite’s most recent output has been VR-based, with the team developing the impressive Horizon Call of the Mountain.

In a separate blog post, penned by Head of PlayStation Studios Herman Hulst, we got additional details on exactly which teams will be hit with layoffs. Surprisingly, on the US side of things, both Insomniac and Naughty Dog will be facing job terminations, as well as SIE’s Technology, Creative and Support teams. Insomniac has consistently released critical and commercial bangers over the past few years, including Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and, most recently, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Naughty Dog, the team behind The Last of Us and Uncharted are also highly regarded, however, the cancellation of The Last of Us multiplayer title would almost certainly be a hit for the studio.

Rounding out the top-tier studios that are facing layoffs is Guerrilla Games, the team behind the Horizon and Killzone series. The Horizon games are a great example of a risk being taken on a new IP that pays off, with the series building a huge fanbase since the release of Zero Dawn in 2017.

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Hulst goes on to confirm that multiple in-development games have been cancelled as part of the reevaluation, saying “We looked at our studios and our portfolio, evaluating projects in various stages of development, and have decided that some of those projects will not move forward.” While he doesn’t provide any specifics, Hulst makes it clear that the decision to shelve these projects isn’t indicative of the team’s talent behind them, closing by saying “Sometimes, great ideas don’t become great games.”

While Herman Hulst wasn’t keen on elaborating on which studios had their projects cancelled, Jason Schrier of Bloomberg has reported that one such title was a live-service Twisted Metal game that was being worked on by Firesprite. With the release of the Twisted Metal TV series late last year, the info in this report seems quite likely.

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With Microsoft having laid off 1,900 of its staff following the Activision Blizzard merger, the Embracer Group continuously closing studios and displacing workers, and seemingly rock-solid studios like Supermassive Games trimming their workforce, it’s become apparent that the gaming industry is critically ill. It’s far from the only industry that’s being gutted, with many tech-related sectors facing similar issues, but it’s a trend that has become all too common in this area that we all love.

Everyone here at WellPlayed sends our best wishes to all of the talented creatives who have been affected by this awful news.

Written By Adam Ryan

Adam's undying love for all things PlayStation can only be rivalled by his obsession with vacuuming. Whether it's a Dyson or a DualShock in hand you can guarantee he has a passion for it. PSN: TheVacuumVandal XBL: VacuumVandal Steam: TheVacuumVandal

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