Sad news for a number of folks working at PopCap today, as studio co-founder John Vechey has announced a round of North American layoffs. The bad news doesn't stop there either, as Vechey also says that the studio is being forced to "evaluate the future of our PopCap office in Dublin, Ireland." There seems to be a chance of the Dublin offices shutting down entirely, which only makes the news go from bad to worse.
In all, Vechey says that around 50 people will be losing their jobs, and most of those cuts will be happening at PopCap's Seattle headquarters. The fate of the Dublin offices is up in the air at the moment, as Vechey says PopCap is talking to the Dublin branch to find a way to make the company's European efforts profitable "without having to close the operation." Regardless of what ends up happening in Dublin, you can tell that this is a depressing time for the folks at PopCap, as Vechey comes off as sincerely remorseful in his blog post. That's not something you often get from executives of big companies, even when people are losing their jobs.
Vechey also took some time his post to clarify a few things. He says that PopCap is still expanding and by the end of the year, the studio should have the same number of people working for as it did at the beginning of the year. He explains that the reason why PopCap is cutting back in some areas while expanding in others is because of the way the mobile and social games market has suddenly exploded in popularity. PopCap, Vechey says, needs to adapt to stay profitable, otherwise it may one day go out of business.
Also mentioned in the blog post is whether or not Electronic Arts had any involvement in these layoffs. Vechey says that EA had nothing to do with them, and that the massive publisher is letting PopCap stay completely independent, despite rumors which claim otherwise. PopCap's decision to reorganize the business was "100 percent made by us," and Vechey assures that EA didn't pressure PopCap executives into this round of layoffs. At the very least, it's nice to hear that PopCap executives still have control over the company, even if that means they sometimes need to make the tough calls that no one ever wants to make.