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Bummer Morning: Nintendo Power Closing, PopCap And Funcom Layoffs [UPDATED]

PopCap hasn't yet commented, but Nintendo Power news seems legit.

UPDATE 2: PopCap has also confirmed layoff reports in a lengthy, surprisingly classy post from co-founder John Vechey.

"Today’s news is something you expect periodically from a company in a fast-changing industry, but it sucks if you’re one of the people losing his or her job," said Vechey. "These people are our friends and we don’t like doing this."

Make sure to read the whole post over here.

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UPDATE: Funcom has also acknowledged layoffs, though it won't confirm various reports the changes have impacted more than 50% of the company worldwide.

"As we announced in the stock notice that went out on August 10th," said the company in a statement, "Funcom is in a process of reducing operational costs and this process includes temporary layoffs as well as other initiatives. As we are currently in the middle of this process we can not provide any further comment at the present time. Rest assured however that we have long-term plans for the company and that we remain fully committed to all of our games."

Here's how Funcom phrased this in its stock notice from August 10:

"Funcom is currently implementing several cost-adjustment initiatives due to the expected lower initial revenues from The Secret World to secure future positive cash flows."

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It’s a sobering morning for the video game industry, as news reports indicate longstanding publication Nintendo Power is closing, and layoffs have hit fan-favorite PopCap Games.

Ars Technica initially reported on Nintendo Power’s demise, which was later confirmed by some of its writers on Twitter.

“Well, that got out,” said writer Phil Theobald on Twitter.

“For what it's worth,” he told me in response, “we have something pretty sweet planned for the final issue.”

The officially-sanctioned Nintendo publication, today distributed by Future Publishing, has been running since 1988.

Elsewhere, there's word of layoffs at PopCap Games. 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard claimed on Twitter that roughly 50 employees were laid off at PopCap’s Seattle studio, and PopCap Dublin and Shangai have been either shut down or "shrunk."

The company recently announced a sequel to the incredibly popular Plants vs. Zombies is coming next spring. PopCap was purchased by Electronic Arts in June 2011 for its success in mobile and social.

PopCap has so far not responded to my requests for comment, but I heard about impending layoffs from multiple sources this morning. I’ve been unable to nail down specific details. Stay tuned.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
219 Comments
Posted by Will_M

Damn, never realized Nintendo Power and I had the same birthday. We're basically twins. I am Nintendo Power.

Posted by PolygonSlayer

Put Psygnosis (Studio Liverpool) on the list of this weeks bummers as well :..(

Posted by Rylox

I didn't think Nintendo Power was still going today to be honest.

Posted by Shuborno

@FMinus said:

@Shuborno said:

Maybe it's unreasonable of me to think of this as such, but the dots connected in my mind this way:

1. PopCap acquired by EA

2. PopCap lays off a bunch of people a year later

Isn't that what always happens with the big guys (eg. EA, Activision) acquiring the little guys?

It's called restructuring, it's shit, but sometimes it has to be done.

My father owned a car paint shop, and as his business grew, he bough a already established full car shop (metal workers, painters, mechanics, electricians, etc..) but he had to let go most of the painters and metal workers, since he already had his own from his own business - it's super shit, but else he would make no profit and all those guys would have nothing to do but to sit there and turn thumbs. If he had an abundance of money, he could have kept them, but he really needed mechanics and electricians + all the equipment that's why he invested in the purchase.

His shop still runs and makes profit 20 years later and all the old staff that wasn't let go on the merger is still working there, except people who went into pension.

I get it. My father owns a business as well.

I'm guessing that when PopCap was PopCap, the people building the company would feel a sense of responsibility to the people they brought into the fold.

When PopCap becomes EA, regardless of whatever sentiment the leaders of PopCap have, the sense of responsibility is to EA's bottom line, not PopCap's employees. I guess it's just a part of growing a business but it's why people get upset about the idea of a big faceless corporation - it's not about the people, it's not about excitement, and it's not about making great products.

Posted by LikeaSsur

I'm not a fan of these stories. It's happened too much this year alone.

Posted by Refugee

Sony killed off Studio Liverpool today too

Posted by dyong

And I just bought TSW. Sigh.

Posted by MonkeyKing1969

Forgive me if I am wrong, but I think some magazines like Nintendo Power needed to go away unless they were willing to adapt. I hear so many people say, "Oh that's a shame, I USED TO subscribe." But that is the point: people stopped subscribing because the magazine stopped being interesting for them. Then again I think Nintendo didn't do the publisher any favors by staying family friendly on all fronts.

Posted by KlUMZeE

@BannerThief said:

What the hell is happening with social games companies?

The Bubble is Bursting

Posted by Matterless
Posted by BiG_Weasel

@Degringolade said:

"The greatest Nintendo Power reader letters you will ever see": http://slate.me/R1242W

I thought this was going to be lame letters, but its actually pretty interesting. Good find.

Posted by jasondesante

R.I.P. Nintendo Power :'(

Posted by pekoe212

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

Forgive me if I am wrong, but I think some magazines like Nintendo Power needed to go away unless they were willing to adapt. I hear so many people say, "Oh that's a shame, I USED TO subscribe." But that is the point: people stopped subscribing because the magazine stopped being interesting for them. Then again I think Nintendo didn't do the publisher any favors by staying family friendly on all fronts.

I think it's more that, across the board, far fewer people are willing to subscribe to print publications. They get whatever content they want off the internet, and they expect to get it for free. Many people might have subscribed to a magazine/newspaper when hard copy was the only option, but will never pay to read the same content on website. They'll just skim whatever free content is available and complain about the ads.

Posted by medacris

Shame. I still read gaming mags from time to time. Still a sense of nostalgia for the physical format, especially when it comes to reading.

Worried about those guys at Popcap. I really am looking forward to PvZ 2, and I'm worried that nudging Popcap out of the genre it does best in for other games might seriously hurt them.

Posted by falling_fast

make another goddamn Longest Journey game, Funcom!

Posted by SpartanHoplite

magazines go out this age & day, no surprise there, EA needing moar $$$ & layoff's folk, no surprise there either. still, what a shame -jc

Posted by AV_Gamer

I remember Nintendo Power from by childhood. Amazing it was still going strong until recently. Rest in peace great magazine.

Posted by BPHusker

Sad to see NP going away. :(

Posted by GiantLizardKing

They should scan all of the original issues and make them available for purchase on tablets for .99 cents a pop or something. I wouldn't mind flipping through some of those older issues.