The mood around the Seattle offices of PopCap
Games was probably high after the company announced the upcoming sequel to “Plants vs. Zombies” (coming spring 2013), but within a day, about 50 of those employees were out of a job.
In a blog post, PopCap co-founder John Vechey wrote that most of the cuts in North America would be from the Seattle location, and what’s more, the entire Dublin, Ireland team--which numbers around 500 people, according to Bloomberg--may be on the chopping block, as well.
To Vechey’s credit, he doesn’t try to sugarcoat what’s happening or spin it as anything other than what it is. For example, when he uses the terms “reduction in force” regarding Seattle and “exploratory consultation” about Dublin, he follows it up with this:
And now in English: [emphasis his] “Reduction In Force” means that some people are losing their jobs. “Exploratory consultation” means we’re talking to our Dublin team about the future of that office and whether we can find a path to improve our profitability in Europe without having to close the operation.
Vechey pegs the need for reorganization on the rapidly changing casual gaming market--specifically, free-to-play, social, and mobile games--which is leading PopCap to “invest in new types of games on new platforms” while expanding into new markets including Japan and China.
He also indicated that were it not for PopCap's year-old integration with EA, the cuts could have been much deeper. As it is, there's a possibility that some of the laid off workers be redistributed elsewhere at EA.