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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.

No Caption Provided

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 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for authenticm
Posted By AuthenticM

Poor Jeff Green. Having to live this twice.

Avatar image for gonmog
Posted By Gonmog

The bubble has popped people....

Avatar image for wrighteous86
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.

Avatar image for fattony12000
Posted By Fattony12000

Fuck.

No Caption Provided
Avatar image for mosespippy
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.

Avatar image for lava
Posted By Lava

This is most unfortunate.

Avatar image for algertman
Edited By algertman

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

Avatar image for jakob187
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.

Avatar image for tesla
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.

Avatar image for alexw00d
Posted By AlexW00d

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

Avatar image for piltdownman
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?

Avatar image for boodoug187
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

Avatar image for mellotronrules
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.

Avatar image for ch3burashka
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.

Avatar image for doctorwelch
Posted By DoctorWelch

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

Avatar image for shawns
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.

Avatar image for langdonx
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.

Avatar image for joshylee
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.

Avatar image for stubee
Posted By Stubee

I had never heard of Nintendo Power beyond the Bombcast. Is it a US only publication?

Avatar image for brodehouse
Posted By Brodehouse

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.

Avatar image for ghost_cat
Posted By Ghost_Cat

I always felt like casual game companies like PopCap would hit a wall one day, but these stories are sprouting faster than I thought. Maybe a huge crash is coming around the corner...

Avatar image for shattershock
Posted By ShatterShock

@WilliamHenry said:

@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.

And the people who lost their jobs right?

Such is the nature of the beast. I'm sure that the people who were good at their job will be able to find positions elsewhere.

Avatar image for mikkaq
Edited By MikkaQ

Oh shit. I know magazines are on the way out, but this one just felt like it was untouchable. It's fucking Nintendo Power, you can't just shutter it. Well apparently you can.

I haven't bought one in years but I'll grab the final copy.

This magazine and NOM (the UK version, essentially) were my childhood magazines of choice.

Avatar image for baal_sagoth
Edited By Baal_Sagoth

@msavo said:

Is Jeff Green safe?

Edit: @Sword5@Lokno@thesage: Ah, ok he is very much still employed. It may sound cold - because it probably is - but that is the fact I personally most cared about concerning this story. The rest is still bad news, but every sad story is. And most of them don't even get reported anywhere. Even if they're usually much, much worse than a somewhat trivial thing like unemployment (in the grand scheme of things).

Avatar image for bacongames
Posted By bacongames

Wait, Nintendo Power still ran? Weird. Am I the only one who thought the official magazines of consoles was always a busted deal? Even if their staff were pretty good at times, I still don't find anything of worth in them. Obviously back in the day Nintendo Power had its use but with the internet, the role it had was completely usurped.

Obviously I'm going to wait until more reports and confirmations come in but if Jeff Green is any indication, there are in fact layoffs going on. Damn shame too because with titles like Peggle, Bejeweled, and PvZ, I always thought higher of them than any other "casual" game developer. And here I was thinking PopCap was going strong but I guess not :(

Avatar image for lar
Posted By LAR

@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.

Avatar image for tehjedicake
Posted By TehJedicake

Every time I hear of Nintendo Power I just get reminded of the AVGN episode all about it.

Avatar image for vegetable_side_dish
Posted By Vegetable_Side_Dish

Oh shit. I may no longer be on board with Nintendo but seeing that magazine go hurts. Reminds me of better times. 

Avatar image for nadafinga
Posted By Nadafinga

If you would have asked me a day ago, "Do you think Nintendo Power is still going?" I would have said "Probably not." So, I guess I'm impressed they lasted this long.

Avatar image for bigsmoke77
Edited By bigsmoke77

@BannerThief: The bubble has burst.

Avatar image for turboman
Posted By turboman

How does a company like PopCap have layoffs? They print money over there.

I remember reading every edition of Nintendo Power when I was a kid, sad to see it go.

Avatar image for fisk0
Posted By fisk0

@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.

Moderator Online
Avatar image for nottle
Posted By Nottle

Man that sucks. I stopped getting nintendo Power around the time that Red Steel 2 was a cover. I have some sentimental feeling for it even though i haven't subscribed for some time.

Avatar image for fauwf
Posted By Fauwf

@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?

There are ways (Retromags) but nothing legal.

Avatar image for smokepants
Posted By SmokePants

The NES years of Nintendo Power were really the only ones that I remember. My subscription continued into the SNES era, but I just don't recall them as well. Probably because I had discovered EGM.

Imagining a modern Nintendo Power, produced by a third party, covering Wii and 3DS makes me want to dry heave. It's a shame that jobs were lost, but it sounds like a mercy killing to me. The Nintendo Power zombie has finally been decapitated and it can rest in peace.

Avatar image for phished0ne
Posted By Phished0ne

@connerthekewlkid said:

i think pop cap didnt really need that many studios in the first place if they were just making social games i still fell bad for the people laid off

In all fairness, its hard for a studio that develops those kinds of games to break into the bigger picture without more people. Sure you can make Plants vs Zombies 2, or Bejeweled 33 with a few smallish studios, but if they were trying to make something a bit bigger it would be a tough row to hoe. Who knows what Popcap had in mind before this went down.

Avatar image for big_jon
Posted By big_jon

So wait, Popcap just reveals PvZ 2, and lay-offs all ready, good job EA.

Avatar image for mosespippy
Posted By mosespippy

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.

Avatar image for sword5
Posted By Sword5

Jeff Green said he still has a job. I wouldn't worry about a public figure like him.

Too bad about the other people. Maybe they will spin off and create a new fun phone game or something.

Avatar image for nintendoeats
Posted By nintendoeats

Nintendo Power is probably as responsible for who I am today as The Hotspot is. I'm sad to see these parts of my personal history die off.

Avatar image for williamhenry
Posted By WilliamHenry

@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.

And the people who lost their jobs right?

Avatar image for lokno
Posted By Lokno

@msavo: Yes, he said as much on twitter.

Avatar image for heghmohqib
Posted By HeghmohQib

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?

Avatar image for thesage
Posted By thesage

@msavo: Yeah Jeff Green is safe, he tweeted that he still has his job.

Avatar image for bingbangboom
Posted By bingbangboom

I bet Popcap had some cancelled games or something. Something that they were working on that went unannounced but canned. :/

Avatar image for laserbolts
Posted By laserbolts

Damn that is some awful news. Nintendo power was awesome back in the day.

Avatar image for re_player1
Posted By RE_Player1

Is Jeff Green safe?

Avatar image for shattershock
Posted By ShatterShock

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

Avatar image for connerthekewlkid
Posted By connerthekewlkid

i think pop cap didnt really need that many studios in the first place if they were just making social games i still fell bad for the people laid off