PopCap today announced that it has begun a reorganization of its studios that includes a “reduction in force” in North America. More specifically, around 50 employees, most from the PopCap headquarters in Seattle, will be losing their jobs.
John Vechey, Popcap co-founder and vice president of corporate strategy and development, made the announcement with a post on the PopCap blog. Vechey also stated that PopCap is talking with its Dublin branch to work out whether sales in Europe can be increased enough to keep the branch open. From the blog post:
Today’s news is something you expect periodically from a company in a fast-changing industry, but it sucks if you’re one of the people losing his or her job. These people are our friends and we don’t like doing this…
A little context on why we’re making cuts in some areas while we’re investing and expanding in others: In the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way people play and pay for games. Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity. That happened fast. Surprisingly so. The change in consumer tastes requires us to reorganize our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms. It’s a completely different world from when we started.
Just over one year ago PopCap was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) for $605 million. This latest news from PopCap may signal that social and mobile gaming may have reached its saturation point. Zynga, once considered a major PopCap competitor, has faced disaster this year after its stock crashed at the end of July. Zynga COO John Schappert has been ousted from his position and the company is now begging employees to stay on.
Popcap just yesterday announced that a Plants vs. Zombies sequel will be released sometime in the first half of 2013. Vechey reiterated that that game is still on track for a spring 2013 release.