Two days ago, CCP Games announced that 20% of their staff would be laid off in an effort to focus on EVE Online. Layoffs were primarily in the Atlanta studio but also affected their studios in Iceland:
As we re-examine our outward relations, we are also taking time to re-evaluate our internal goals. In doing so, we have come to the conclusion that we are attempting too many things for a company our size. Developing EVE expansions, DUST 514 and World of Darkness has stretched our resources too thin.
Rather than allowing this to persist, we have made the decision to sharpen our focus. Sadly, this means reducing our staff. We estimate that around twenty percent of global positions will be affected by this process. These will be predominantly in our Atlanta, GA office, although select positions in our Reykjavik, Iceland office will be affected.
This move comes after a large amount of backlash in response to the vanity items that were introduced into the game via a cash shop on June 21. This move upset many players and ignited in-game riots, with many players attacking trading posts and landmarks such as the Amarr System statue. Internal communications were leaked during this period not once, but twice. Each time, they brought forth information that caused even more unrest among the players. The last of the two e-mails was what caused many to quit. The e-mail posited that the backlash was predictable, and that it was important to look at player actions rather than what they were saying. This resulted in many players cancelling their subscriptions rather than continue communicating with the company.
An interview CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson had with Eurogamer reveals that these events did indeed have a direct impact:
It’s a danger of having gone from success to success for such a long time. We’ve consistently bucked the trend with Eve now for eight years. Eve as an initial creation was an almost impossible feat and we’ve carried that through the years, growing each year. It frankly made me arrogant and making a change to the game as we did over the summer – in the way that we did – led to taking a look at the whole company as a result.
Pétursson says that those being let go are being given help in finding new jobs:
I’ve personally been contacted by many CEOs in the industry which have offered to help with finding employment for the people who are leaving, and that’s a great thing to see. We are connecting people with our industry friends, we are helping them with their resumes, we are helping them to make contacts, and things like that.
Pétursson also reassures that CCP will still be developing EVE, Dust 514, and World of Darkness, but the studio will be focusing on EVE Online and Dust 514.
Analysis: While it’s surprising it took so long, it is good to see that CCP is still receptive to player feedback. It’s disconcerting to see the amount of backlash that arose and the blatant disregard CCP had for this. EVE Online is one of the very, very few games to have an official means for customers and company to come together via its Council of Stellar Management. Despite this, it appeared that the core issues players had were not being addressed.
Regardless of what occurred months ago, it looks like CCP has finally begun to move. It is highly unfortunate that this had to come at the cost of approximately 120 of CCP’s 600 staff members, but it’s good to see the developer is trying its best to not leave anyone without a job. It’s rare to see a developer that cares that much for its staff.