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General: Closing Time

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,585MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

This has been a rough week in game development with studios closing, developers being laid off and games being canceled. In today's Developer Perspectives, we get an inside look at how it all feels and what it means. Read on!

One of the comments swirling around the collective MMO universe is that the recently axed employees had to be delusional to not realize the end was near. That's completely unfair, and untrue. It's true that the more experienced you are, the more likely you are to know that something is wrong. (Many of the most telling red flags are only visible in hindsight, and so you can't recognize them until you've been clubbed by them.) But you may not know what, and you certainly don't know when. I have not been shocked to learn of the demise of any of my employers - but the timing has been at least somewhat unexpected every time.

Read more of Sanya Weathers' Developer Perspectives: Closing Time.


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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • herculeshercules lancashire,blackpoolPosts: 4,788Member Uncommon
    I feel for people who lose their jobs due to poor management.38 srudio been a prime example.
  • AeolronAeolron Ottawa, ONPosts: 648Member
    Ouch that sucks. I feel your pain when I was laid off from Microsoft they let me walk to my car myself kept some pride at least. It's sad that these things happen and I agree that there is a special place in hell for really anyone with those traits that you mention.

    I hope that people can bounce back from this and I hope that those people can find TRUE job security in an age where it is nearly impossible to find some, even the federal government ( which HAD amazing job security ) is loosing ground. People think that there is no resesion , but don't be fooled things may seem calm now, but this is just the eye of the storm and the calm won't last much longer.

    I hope that you can find meaningful work again and something that is stable because , pardon me for saying this, that is just utter bs to go through with that. My hats off to you!
  • Half_Man_Half_ToonHalf_Man_Half_Toon NO, CAPosts: 156Member

    what dosent kill you makes you stronger and dont worry I have a think on my life I always get a better job then the previews ones I always make sure I do that and it keeps me happy, be smart next think you may be making mad mad money :)

  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon

    Ugh, this brings back memories.  I was a CSR at Mythic for Warhammer and had made it to the third round of layoffs and just like you said Sonya, I kept hoping the game would turn around and I would move up into QA or other design areas if I just worked hard enough.  I moved to the area just for the job, which I don't regret by the way.  Virginia is so much better than New Jersey any day of the week.  

    That being said I've had 2 jobs since then and both have laid me off and I now spend my time throwing my resume at every possible job opportunity that comes across my browser hoping for something, anything to get me back on my employment feet.  I miss the people I had started to develop relationships with and I, at times, almost regret loving games so much that I was willing to move to another state just to get my foot in the door(still don't regret it though, love this state!).  Makes one wonder about their passions and dreams though.  While nice to have, they don't always put food on the table.

    Anyway, enough lamenting, just wanted to say "Hear, Hear, you're not alone" and sharing in this miserable aspect of our current economy and it's overflow into our favorite passtime.

    image
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon

    People forget this is a business.  It is quite obvious that 38 studios was not run like a business.  400+ employees with only a single player game as an income source equals only one result.  All I can say is what were they thinking?   They were doomed before they started and I do not feel sorry for them.  Why should anyone feel sorry for someone that is doing something in a stupid manner.

    I do feel sorry for Sanya's company though, they just could not get funding, they were not piling on the employee's in this case.  Money is tight right now and unless you have a rich champion you are on the outside looking in.

     

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    Yeah, one of the worst aspects of a genre becoming popular...corporations come in and take over and it all becomes a game of numbers, people dont matter. Then there is the 38 studios types of companies. Great employee's....poor management.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

     Oh nice...that never happened before.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • xaritscinxaritscin CaliPosts: 349Member

    its not only the the people in business suits, the fault is also of the consumer......

  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by xaritscin

    its not only the the people in business suits, the fault is also of the consumer......

    That is just absurd.  Like blaming guns for killing people. Sheesh.

    image
  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    If you are the person who sees it coming (perhaps by noticing that the financials were arranged so that total assets were listed as a dollar below total liabilities in the last always-slightly-fudged balance sheet), it doesn't help - you just slowly go insane from the stress of wondering which day the axe will fall.  And knowing that you were right doesn't make you feel better, it makes you feel oddly responsible, no matter how down the totem pole your job was. 

    ( of course, if you're really lucky, you'll hold out through several waves of layoffs until actual bankruptcy occurs, all the well-oiled processes break down and HR just sort of struggles through the legally required briefing script while biting a lip, meekly appologizes for not having any severence package paperwork and just quietly leaves the room, leaving you to find your own way out unescorted through the cavernous empty halls ) 

    edit: hmm ... *wanders off to play with my cat*

     
  • ThorqemadaThorqemada BerlinPosts: 1,277Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by chelao
    what dosent kill you makes you stronger

    Or/Until it cripples you...

    +++

    Well, most times employees deserve what they get but never get what they deserve - payment and treatment correlate with might not working ethics!

    PS: Love the Pics :)

    "Torquemada... do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada... do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada... do not ask him for mercy. Let's face it, you can't Torquemada anything!"

    MWO Music Video - What does the Mech say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF6HYNqCDLI
    Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0x2iwK0BKM

  • gaeanprayergaeanprayer Somewhere Out There, PAPosts: 2,320Member Uncommon

    It's always the little men that get the shaft, which is why numnuts like Kotick and Riccitiello irk me to no end. It's easy to be smug and confident when you're the one using the people around you. It's the primary reason why I'm starting to shy away from the games industry, went for the animation studio internship over games internships. That "pink slip" mentality is pretty much industry-wide, but at least in animation the generally more transient nature (project-to-project) allows for foresight into your future; you know in 1-3 years it's time to start looking for the next job. Never have to settle and get used to people only to have the rug torn out from under you, nor are you obligated to put up with bosses, CEOs and head-honchos you can't stand for very long.

     

    Someone earlier mentioned the consumer is to blame. I'd agree, but probably not for the reasons they intended (or maybe so, they didn't elaborate). The fact of the matter is that money corrupts people, and when you as a consumer continue feeding these leeches your money, you validate their actions and are telling them that everything they're doing is perfectly fine. You're not just validating lackluster games based just on the brand name, you're validating business practices and the people who decide them. Money is power, and they have your money because you give it to them, thus they have the power to keep fucking everyone over, both employee and consumer, as many times as they like.

     

    Without lube.

     

    "Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,909Member Uncommon

    It reminds me a lot of the broadcasting industry.  I worked radio and TV back in my 20s.  Horrid business to be in.  Pack up the kids, move two thousand miles, get settled in, and then they fire the whole staff and start over as a country-rock station.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • RequiamerRequiamer ???Posts: 2,034Member

    Great read i enjoyed it very much, sad for sure, but then again life is not easy. The way our economy work today is harsh, probably always have been though, but for our post WW2 parents it was a bit easier for sure and most of us were educated by them. I also almost went into some close business with my 3d skill, and what i saw at the door wasn't very nice tbh, with all those 6 month to 3 years contracts if you are super lucky that lead you nowhere. In any case my path went an other way, is it more secure or not i can't tell. Does human relationship have less heaviness, i'm not sure, it's just an other path i guess.

     

    Also i don't think you should take it that much personally, i know its a bit hard because its always the first reaction any normal person will have "did i did something wrong?", But fact is in 99% of the case it was just an external reason that is totally unrelated to you, and if it was related you probably won' never know because people are just dicks, sad but true, we don't weight much in the balance let be honest here. And personal relationship can do as much as little sadly.

    I'm not being very positive i guess here, but that's just the way it is :(

     

    I also think you guys at mmorpg.com should let people from the inside talk more, it would build a better relation and a better vision of what those games and the industry is about. A lot of kids and older kids like me are too detached to have any good opinion.

  • ZorgoZorgo Deepintheheartof, TXPosts: 2,226Member
    Originally posted by elocke
    Originally posted by xaritscin

    its not only the the people in business suits, the fault is also of the consumer......

    That is just absurd.  Like blaming guns for killing people. Sheesh.

    Yeah....everyone know's it's those darn bullets.

  • ShinerBochShinerBoch Richardson, TXPosts: 20Member

    This is why I decided I couldn't fit into the typical workforce.  Instead I decided to base my life entirely on acquiring new and more skills and not basing my economic life on elevating myself within an organization through self-marketing or anything else.

    Mostly because I suck at that sort of thing, but this way seems to be working out ok.

    Yes, I know I mispelled Shiner Bock. Don't blame me, blame society.

  • LostarLostar Johnstown, PAPosts: 901Member

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    I had that happen too me twice, and both times I seen it coming. 

    I worked for a local chain drug store we were a small shop of 4 programmers,  so I did all the financials. I was running the numbers and giving them straight to the president of the company, so I knew something was up.  Sure enough one day got called into the boardroom and told we been sold. 

    Then I worked at a local insurance company 400 programmers,  the economy took a dive, folks cancel insurance quickly when they cant afford it and then they let folks go.  I got the first round of layoffs (cure word for your fired), with a severance package. That company went from a size of 5k to 1k at the campus where  they are located.

    It always bites when it happens.  I like to be the one to tell the folks I am working for that they are no longer needed, not the other way around. 

    It is just the way things are in IT nowadays. I hate that it happens to anybody but as volatile as the economy is it happens all far to often.

  • MorvMorv Royal Oak, MIPosts: 331Member
    Originally posted by xaritscin

    its not only the the people in business suits, the fault is also of the consumer......

    Um, no? People don't like a game they don't buy it... it's not ever the fault of the consumer... what an absurd comment.

  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member

    This topic made me think of Brad McQuaid immediately.

    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon

    I definitely feel bad for those laid off.  Especially the ones getting contacted by the banks when 38 studios lied about selling their houses for them when they relocated.

     

    The company was totally mismanaged.  They probably paid and arm and a leg for Salvatore and McFarland.  Why they bought another game studio is beyond me.  Why R.I. loaned them so much money is the big question.

  • ScalebaneScalebane La Junta, COPosts: 2,225Member

    Haha the title made me think of this right away...

    http://youtu.be/xGytDsqkQY8

    image

    "The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
    - Lewis Thomas

  • GarkanGarkan BirminghamPosts: 552Member

    I am curious about the being escorted off the premises thing, is that something unique to the software industry or is it standard practice for other employers?

    Personally I have been made redundant only once. I have little experiance in that regard but in my case I was not escorted out, noone else was either. I can see why it might be necessary if someone was sacked for bad conduct but not for redundancy.

    Currently playing:

    EVE online (Ruining low sec one hotdrop at a time)

    Gravity Rush,
    Dishonoured: The Knife of Dunwall.

    (Waiting for) Metro: Last Light,
    Company of Heroes II.

  • ZorgoZorgo Deepintheheartof, TXPosts: 2,226Member
    Originally posted by Garkan

    I am curious about the being escorted off the premises thing, is that something unique to the software industry or is it standard practice for other employers?

    Personally I have been made redundant only once. I have little experiance in that regard but in my case I was not escorted out, noone else was either. I can see why it might be necessary if someone was sacked for bad conduct but not for redundancy.

    I would imagine if you had access to sensative materials from your game, they may want to make sure it doesn't leave the building. Imagine having inside information on blizzard's 'titan' on your resume for your next job as a hypothetical.

  • chaintmchaintm Chicago, ILPosts: 972Member

    The only fool is the fool that believes in any company in the end. Contract work is the only work in this industry, for you are your own boss, you loose that contract due to company failure, you still get your payout and in the end your lined up for more work. If your skills are not enabling you to get constant contract work, time to re-skill or change professions. The I.T. Industry is a very rough industry and the side of entertainment is even worse.

    Most of anyone that I know worth a grain of salt in this industry is contract. A few mangment in some companies are excellent players, I have yet thou to run into any coder, designer and more that are full time steady employees with one company more then two years.

    I am sure there are some, but out of all, contract is the way to do it. Just my 2cents, sorry but this posting to me seems more of a rant from a guy who is sick of getting laid off. Personally I would just better my skills or find a new line of work.

    "The monster created isn't by the company that makes the game, it's by the fans that make it something it never was"

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