Mass layoffs now hit Trion Worlds (thanks to Gamigo)


#1

According to that source, only 25 or so employees were given the opportunity to continue on with the studio. (Update: A source close to the matter has said that roughly 25 employees remain at each studio, indicating that around 50 remain at Trion overall and over 150 were affected by the layoffs altogether.) According to that information, the remaining developers at both the company’s Redwood City, California and Austin, Texas offices have been affected by the layoffs. Prior to this, Trion Worlds employed over 200 people.

Details such as severance packages have not yet become public but this is directly on the acquisition of the company by Gamigo, who are clearly doing so to grab the user base of the MMOs currently run while removing almost all of the staff involved in running the MMOs. Gamigo claims to control more games than most major AAA publishers do all while running with around 250 members of staff total (that is operating “over 500 casual games and 25+ MMOs” - yes, that’s not even one member of staff per game and this is the ecosystem that mobile game adverts you see on Twitch/YouTube etc are all directing you towards).

As these studios are located in jurisdictions with very little legal protection from this stuff, I’m not hopeful for any stories of how generous the severance packages were. Even if that is the case, this reads as a real horror story of selling an ongoing company with a significant customer base to a company who have no interest in paying game developers a penny despite having a business entirely reliant on the labour of said game developers.

Edit: Any thoughts on yet another >100 developer mass layoff and this form of acquisition in the games industry (possibly with reference to how we can sometimes position AAA as uniquely abusive while the huge mobile sector get relatively little scrutiny, with this getting relatively higher coverage because of how mobile publishers and traditional MMOs now intersect and MMOs having their own reporting circles)? What can consumers do about it? What can reporters do to better cover all aspects of the industry without those “news hooks” to really popular game titles that can drive hits and conversations?


#2

Yikes! I’m not familiar with this studio, but layoffs, regardless of a studio’s size, are devastating. I feel like folks who don’t care about this should listen to more interviews with developers, many of whom get starts in mobile. Of course, I’d also argue that you should care because labour is intrinsically valuable, but…

I do think the questions you ask here are important, though, particularly these points:

There’s a lot of importance to this – mobile games have their own publishing circles (many of whom, from what I understand, struggle to make ends meet) which have fairly little overlap with more traditional games press. I don’t know what the communities are like in those spaces, but one would hope that these sites can give this at least coverage.

This is something that I do think is potentially more difficult to broach. Something that I do struggle with when discussing this is that I think it’s hard to imagine a world in which, to put it bluntly, news media can save us. I do think there’s a place for media to help ‘build’ games labour into a story which commands attention in its own right (i.e. it becomes its own news hook), and us being consumers who are interested in that for its own sake can help with that.

Building awareness, understanding, and analysis can be a method for not only pushing this conversation forward, but giving readers the tools to understand issues going forward. Even if the article doesn’t generate gangbuster revenue, it can help to educate and encourage higher standards in the discourse around issues like this.

I think that’s an optimistic spin on it, though