Following rumors that circled last week, Sony Computer Entertainment confirmed their decision to close Zipper Interactive in a statement to Game Informer. Zipper Interactive is best known for their work on MAG, SOCOM 4, and Unit 13 for PS Vita. The studio housed around eighty employees. It has not yet been revealed how many employees have been moved to another studio or how many were left jobless.
An excerpt from the statement to Game Informer reads:
“The closure is a result of normal cycle of resource re-alignment within Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios. Zipper has completed all work associated with its most recent project, Unit 13 for PlayStation Vita. Zipper titles MAG, SOCOM 4 and Unit 13 will continue to be supported, including the new Daily Challenges in Unit 13.”
Analysis: A recent trend has apparently reared its ugly head within the game industry, and that is of studios closing after a big or somewhat big release of a new title. After the release of L.A. Noire, Team Bondi remained in the headlines for all the wrong reasons until they finally closed down. Eat Sleep Play, although not closing down, lost several employees including David Jaffe, who’s now chosen to focus on game development for iDevices, after the release of Twisted Metal.
This trend has now continued with the closure of Zipper Interactive. To me, it would appear that the constantly rising costs of developing AAA titles has made it difficult for some companies to even make enough money to compensate for development costs, let alone make a profit, especially since publishers also have to make their own money as well. I can see why the industry has become flooded with so many sequels. It’s really the best chance a studio has to maintain a constant fan base and give themselves the best chance to make a profit.
Zipper Interactive were by no means a bad developer. Sure, they weren’t on the level of Naughty Dog and Santa Monica, but they were far above average and created enjoyable titles that many people experienced, including myself. My best wishes go out to the employees at Zipper Interactive. Hopefully, the majority of employees at Zipper Interactive have been assigned to another studio and that few have to go through the process of finding a new job.