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U.S. Army combat veteran. OIF 06-08. Forward Observer. Purple Heart recipient. Husband. Father. Gamer. Writer. YouTuber.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Are AAA Layoffs an Opportunity for OUYA?


I'd like to quickly thank all of those who pitched in on the OUYA fund!
It was YOUR idea and YOU made it happen. Thank you so much!


Near the end of a console generation, we tend to see a lot of layoffs from AAA studios. I daresay that as we near the inevitable release of PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox, the gaming industry has seen more layoffs than usual. Every single time layoffs are reported, the same reason is listed: corporate restructuring. Basically, it means that talented individuals are now jobless. More on this in a minute.

Today, High Moon Studios (Transformers, Deadpool) and Square Enix LA (Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Hitman) were hit with a wave of lay offs. Let's take a look at Activision's statement regarding the layoffs at High Moon Studios.

"Activision Publishing consistently works to align its costs with its revenues – this is an ongoing process. With the completion of development on Deadpool, we are taking a reduction in staff at High Moon Studios to better align our development talent against our slate. Approximately, 40 full-time employees will be impacted globally. We are offering those employees who are impacted outplacement counseling services."

Just last month, Activision (also the parent company of High Moon Studios) laid off numerous employees of Treyarch, now that Black Ops II is essentially in a DLC cycle. Let's take a look at Activision's statement regarding these layoffs.

"Like any successful business, Activision Publishing consistently works to align its costs with its revenues – this is an ongoing process. In 2013, we expect to release fewer games based on license properties and as a result are realigning our structure to better reflect the market opportunities and our slate. Approximately, 30 full-time employees have been impacted globally, which represents approximately one half of one percent of Activision Blizzard’s employee population. We are offering those employees who are impacted outplacement counseling services."

I've taken the liberty of highlighting the soullessness of the AAA gaming business. Hire a lot of people, make a game, fire a lot of people. That's how it works.

--- A Common Practice ---

As I cruised Twitter this evening, a couple of tweets echoed my thoughts.




These guys have been around the block a few times. They know what's up.

And so it begs the question: Is OUYA paying attention? It is disgusting to see so many technically skilled individuals floating around from one AAA dead end to the next. Sadly, this mass displacement of personnel is a common and accepted practice. Nature of the business. And the fact that such a ridiculous business practice is considered normal is, to me, a clear indicator of how desperately the gaming industry is in need of reform.

I hope that OUYA is watching. Liz Stewart, who will be laid off of Square Enix on June 28th according to this tweet, is an excellent PR Manager. OUYA should definitely look in to hiring her. Just saying.

Thanks for reading. Fall out.

I also uploaded a video to my YouTube channel talking mostly about the OUYA. Check it out if you like.