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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 JoshyLee

Well Popcap hasn't produced much since EA bought them. I was hoping all that EA money would have given them some room to develop without these problems.

Posted by langdonx

I loved Nintendo Power so much... subscribed to the Fun Club for like 3 issues and immediately jumped into a Nintendo Power subscription after getting the first issue. I lost interest sometime after Nintendo 64 and let my Nintendo Power subscription expire after ~100 issues or so. Sad news even though it won't have a huge effect on me.

Posted by ShawnS

@ShatterShock said:

The internet age doesn't need dead tree magazines, and the end of Nintendo Power is no loss to anybody but the nostalgic.

Thank you.

Posted by DoctorWelch

Let's start a Kickstarter to keep Nintendo Power alive.

Posted by ch3burashka

Mad bummer, yo. At least they get a last issue - if I recall correctly, EGM was straight-up murdered in cold blood without being allowed a final issue.

Edited by mellotronrules

@Brodehouse said:

I'm beginning to find layoff news to be useless. Because there's never hiring news. If we went by layoff news, every person in this industry is out of work. The only positive news I've ever seen posted on this level is excitement over the Minerva's Den people forming a studio. Otherwise it's non-stop negativity. I'm not even blaming our news guys for it, it just seems like its a big oversight.

news always has and always will have a bias towards the negative. just turn on the tv. it's human nature. and besides, if the site was reporting every time there was substantial hiring done by a particular company (which isn't always public information), people would probably start throwing around favoritism accusations.

the industry is in flux- nobody knows how the traditional space will end up looking vs. the mobile/social. and in the interim lots of folks are going to lose their livelihood. it's a bummer- but that's how it goes, i guess.

Posted by BooDoug187

Man I remember getting Nintendo Power back in the NES days. Got them all the way up to the N64 time, about then I owned the Playstation. Might have to pick up the last issues when it comes out

Posted by PiltdownMan

@Undeadpool: Those were always my favorite part of Nintendo Power. I still have all my old ones, and even some of the ones from before Nintendo Power what was that called Player's Club?

Posted by AlexW00d

It's ok, Jeff Green still has a job.

Posted by Tesla

While I never subscribed to Nintendo Power, I have read many an issue back in the day. Even though my interest in Nintendo products has waned over the years, I find myself a little sad that Nintendo Power is closing it's doors. Like a piece of my childhood just went out of business.

Posted by jakob187

Why the fuck would George Broussard know anything about PopCap's potential layoffs? That's just the oddest fucking source ever!

As for Nintendo Power, that's such a huge bummer.

Edited by algertman

If this doesn't wake people up on how much Nintendo is doomed I don't know what will.

Posted by Lava

This is most unfortunate.

Posted by mosespippy

@fisk0 said:

@mosespippy said:

The worst part is that it sounds like Nintendo Power would have been just fine if Nintendo would just let them make a digital version. Their refusal to adapt to the business models of modern technology will be their downfall.

Have Nintendo actually had anything to do with it since 2007? Never having read or really kept up with Nintendo Power I have no idea, but looked like Future Publishing took over in 2007, in that case I don't think Nintendo are to blame.

Nintendo wouldn't let Future publish a digital copy and Future can't make it profitable without it so they won't sign an extension on their deal. Nintendo doesn't want to publish the magazine themselves and no one else will without digital versions so the magazine will stop existing.

Posted by Fattony12000

Fuck.

Posted by Wrighteous86

@algertman said:

If this isn't does wake people up on how much Nintendo is doomed I don't know what will.

Yeah, not the magazine industry; Nintendo. Get real.

Posted by Gonmog

The bubble has popped people....

Posted by AuthenticM

Poor Jeff Green. Having to live this twice.

Posted by Wrighteous86

@jakob187 said:

Why the fuck would George Broussard know anything about PopCap's potential layoffs? That's just the oddest fucking source ever!

As for Nintendo Power, that's such a huge bummer.

The Rock tweeted about OBL's death before anyone else knew. The world is weird.

Posted by Sammo21

Hopefully Jeff Green is safe.

Sad people are losing their jobs though.

Posted by TyCobb

@algertman said:

If this isn't does wake people up on how much Nintendo is doomed I don't know what will.

Because a printed magazine is no longer going to be made? Magazines are not profitable anymore. There's nothing in a magazine that can't be found online and 99% of the time it is old news by the time the magazine hits. I actually had no clue Nintendo Power was even still made.

Posted by chocolaterhinovampire

I was a NP sub from like 1997 to at least 2001...a sad sad day indeed.

Posted by Brake

I was gonna say hire Jeff Green, but since he still has a job...hire Jeff Green!

Posted by Phatmac

You're out of lives Nintendo Power.

Posted by Blue_Sheild

So, what gaming magazines are even left?

Obviously, Game Informer, but what else?

Posted by DeF

@Brake said:

I was gonna say hire Jeff Green, but since he still has a job...hire Jeff Green!

My first thought after hearing this news was: I hope they didn't axe Jeff Green again!

Posted by BonOrbitz

That's really, really sad news on both fronts. I truly wish I didn't throw away all of my old issues of Nintendo Power.

Posted by PandaShake

My favourite part of Nintendo Power was editor's response to fan's comments. They're usually funny and witty :(. I think I'll be buying that last issue.

Posted by Hailinel

Nintendo Power is actually how I got into RPGs thanks to their Dragon Warrior subscription bonus. It's sad to hear that it's shutting down.

Posted by President_Barackbar

Glad to hear Jeff Green still has his job, but sad to hear about the layoffs. And to be perfectly honest, I had no idea Nintendo Power was even still in print.

Posted by ultimatepunchrod

Holy shit. I was never a subscriber or anything, but Nintendo Power is legendary. I don't see how it can stop since PTOM and Xbox official are still going. I hope they find another home for the writers.

Posted by rand0mZer00

Both of these stories are real bummers.

Posted by DougQuaid

Holy shit, 'talk the end of an era..

Posted by Adaurin
@BannerThief

What the hell is happening with social games companies?

Is pop cap considered social gaming?
Edited by CaLe

I've no idea what takes PopCap so long to make games. They aren't exactly re-inventing the wheel, or working on huge tr1pl3 A francheeses.

I've never bought a Nintendo Power so it doesn't affect me much. I do think Phil Theobald is a spiffy fellow though. Still, it wasn't exactly his bread and butter.. or cheese for that matter.

Edit: I'm pretty sure my re-inventing the wheel comment doesn't fit with whatever I was trying to say. I'll leave it there for posterity and for my honour etc.

Posted by ExplodeMode

Old Nintendo Power covers were the greatest.

Posted by HeghmohQib

@LAR said:

@HeghmohQib said:

My brother subscribed to it when it first came out. We use to have something like the first 50 issues sitting in boxes @ my parents place. Can't find them now. Anyone know any legitimate way of getting virtual copies of them?

That sucks. This article made me want to look at them.

Every once I feel like pulling them out and look at them. It's a significant nostalgia trip. Especially for us. Unfortunately, they were either tossed (despite asking that they be saved) or they are buried in the attic (might as well be thrown out).

Posted by Ben_H

Nooooooooooo Nintendo Power. I was subscribed to that for almost 6 years when I was little and it was so good. Though I heard it kinda went downhill a while back

Posted by JJWeatherman

I hope Jeff Green still has a job.

Posted by AjayRaz

@JJWeatherman said:

I hope Jeff Green still has a job.

he does. he confirmed it on his twitter thingy

Posted by JJWeatherman

@AjayRaz said:

@JJWeatherman said:

I hope Jeff Green still has a job.

he does. he confirmed it on his twitter thingy

This is great news. Just this of course. Not the rest of it.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Sure, Nintendo Power has always been the equivalent of state-controlled media, but the fact that it's over with is kinda a bummer. People losing their jobs is never good.

Posted by Scrawnto

I'm not terribly surprised Nintendo Power is shutting down. There just aren't enough good exclusives for Nintendo platforms to justify a Nintendo-specific publication these days. It's a shame, really. I loved that magazine for years. They did good work. I haven't been a subscriber for the better part of a decade though.

Posted by Hector

Damn that sucks. I guess I'll be picking up the last issue then. I use to love reading Nintendo Power back when I was a kid.

Posted by Jay444111

Guys... lets pull a Toonami revival on Nintendo power! Let us do it! NOW!!!

Posted by CaLe

@ArbitraryWater said:

Sure, Nintendo Power has always been the equivalent of state-controlled media, but the fact that it's over with is kinda a bummer. People losing their jobs is never good.

It was good when the people selling toxic mortgage backed securities lost their jobs.

Posted by LordAndrew

Not Nintendo Power! Damn.

I want them to bring back Howard and Nester for the final issue, even though it's not going to happen.

Posted by stise

Hopefully the NP staff can find new homes in which to write away right away.

Posted by bennyboy

i still regret throwing away my hundred or so issues of nintendo power like ten years ago...