It’s been an unfortunate day today in the Sony and Rockstar San Diego camps. After the smash hit coming out of Rockstar San Diego with Red Dead Redemption, the company announced early this morning that it was letting go of “about 40” employees. At this time, Rockstar would not pinpoint where these positions were, or if this was part of a larger realignment.
Here’s what studio manager Steve Martin had to say about the announcement:
As is typical with game development, our team sizes have always fluctuated over the course of the development cycle. As Rockstar San Diego transitions from the launch of Red Dead Redemption onto future projects, we are realigning our resources in order to continue to develop games as effectively as possible.
We are ensuring that all employees who are affected by these changes are being treated with care. While we have no announcements to make regarding a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, the team here are hard at work on the development of downloadable content for the game.
Meanwhile, Sony Online Entertainment, the people responsible for things like EverQuest and upcoming DC Universe Online, also released a statement today where they revealed that they were letting go of 35 employees from across the organization. According to their press release, this is not directed to any one department, but rather a unified 4% cut across the board:
“In a move to better align the company’s resources against areas of growth that meet consumer demand in today’s online market as well as improve operational efficiency, Sony Online Entertainment has eliminated just over 4% of its full-time workforce, equaling 35 people. The changes will better position SOE to deliver on its emphasis of developing games for a wider, more diverse audience and remaining a worldwide leader in online gaming.”
So it begs the question for both companies, why now? In Rockstar’s defense, their latest game has been battling for the number one spot in the UK and here in the US for the past three weeks, still selling over 1.5 million units in the United States alone. Considering that they have an upcoming four DLC packs on the horizon, their money woes shouldn’t have been that bad. In SOE’s defense, they could have actually been overstaffed to prepare for the DC Universe Online release and now they are just scaling back. The timing is interesting though, as SOE has not been doing as much promotion as we would expect to get ready for such a big online release. What do you all think of these proposed cuts?