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Analyst: 8,450 Game Biz Workers Lost Jobs Since July 2008
Analyst: 8,450 Game Biz Workers Lost Jobs Since July 2008
May 11, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

May 11, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
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    15 comments
More: Console/PC



8450 game industry professionals have lost their jobs since July 2008, says independent market analyst Wanda Meloni.

In an article in Gamasutra's blogs section, Meloni says that 75 percent of these, about 6300 employees, are from North America, and the rest are from Asia and the UK.

Meloni used Game Developer Research's Game Developer Census 2008 report to calculate the current percentage of game industry layoffs in North America at 12 percent, based on the census report's tally of 53,900 workers.

She notes multiple studio closures recently as well, including Microsoft's ACES Studio and Ensemble Studios; longstanding Duke Nukem developer 3D Realms recently closed its doors as well.

"A handful of others are on life support, operating with a skeletal workforce and actively looking for buyers," Meloni writes.

But her full article finds a silver lining in the grim stats -- "the talent is there," she says of the 6300 laid-off workers.

Of course, Meloni suggests, this means that there are 6300 staffers poised to create what she calls a "Gaming Renaissance Movement," by which newly-liberated talent is establishing new studios and compensating with "creativity, vision and sheer grit."


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Comments


Brandon Lesche
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That number can't be right; it's got to be much higher than that.



There was an article on here a few months ago where EA announced they would be laying off 9,000 people worldwide, and (I believe before this announcement) closed several small studios. I imagine the lion's share of that 9000 are from the USA.



At the very least, EA's layoffs - if they met their reported number of 9,000 - are more than the 8,450 reported in this article.

An Dang
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The sad thing is that people trying to get into the industry have to compete with all these experienced folks.

Simon Carless
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Brandon: I think the number was 1,000 for EA: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21611 - EA has about 10,000 employees total, I believe. Nonetheless, the number may be higher through unannounced layoffs, but obviously, some smaller amount of these folks will have been re-employed.

Jonathan Rush
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An Dang - That's not neccesarily true. Some companies are specifically looking for fresh talent straight from school. Lower pay and lots of energy/enthusiasm.



My opinion, if you're good at what you do, then you compete with others that are good at what they do. School or no school :)

Maurício Gomes
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@Brandon



I believe the article is ignoring the rest of America, EA fired a lot of people America abroad for example, here in Brazil a lot of people got fired too in percentage (ie: 10 to 20% of our total workforce), but since we have like 600 people in total working in the game industry here, that is not much (that is a thing that I think that is dreaded: this year more students will complete their courses on game-something than there are working employees)



@Dang



Altough it is true that is hard for people from school to compete with experienced people, I must say that I am fine with it, experienced people have to compete with me too :P And I am out of school yet, but I know that I kick ass! (obviously, not like huh... John Carmack or Richard Garriot, but I believe that I beat a lot of the experienced guys...)



So, the competition is of skill, not of school or not! Altough I believe that in my case school helped a lot I become what I am becoming, while other people even in school continue to suck anyway.

Robert Farr
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If I remember rightly when I attended one of the games Edu events in brighton about 2/3 years back someone made mention that only about 1 in 3 games graduates end up going into industry. Of course thats probably changed since, considering how fast the industry moves.

Aaron Casillas
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...on that note any Flash engineers out there looking for a business venture? I have a design that is sizzling off the screen! Find me on linkedin.com!

Paul Tozour
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"Gaming Renaissance Movement"? What?



Developers are out of work, good developers have been crushed by the depression ... and therefore gaming will suddenly undergo a magical renaissance?



Put down the crack pipe!

steve roger
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Hélder Gomes Filho " I must say that I am fine with it, experienced people have to compete with me too :P And I am out of school yet, but I know that I kick ass! (obviously, not like huh... John Carmack or Richard Garriot, but I believe that I beat a lot of the experienced guys...) I believe that in my case school helped a lot I become what I am becoming, while other people even in school continue to suck anyway"



Hey, you are incredibly arrogant. This quality is not going to help you. I hope this comment can follow you for the rest of your career.



Dang was not making a comment to provide you a platform to tout your awesomeness. He was just saying that talent can transcend experience and/or schooling. But you took it as an opportunity to say that you better than everybody else except the great of the greats.



However, I am willing to bet that list of people more talented and gracious than you is really, really long.



Looks like you hope to be in the company of Smart, Romero, even McGee. The difference is that you likely you share only their ego but not their abilities.



Far as I can tell you are basically a nobody like me.

Daniel Martinez
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And here I was under the misconception the videogame industry was not hit by the recession. I probably thought so because most the people I know are avid gamers, whereas the occasional casual gamers are probably taking it easy on buying every game they want. This cycle of consumers spending less/cutting expenses leading to lower sales, which esquate to lower profit, resulting in companies cutting expenses, consequently ending in layoffs which translates back to consumers making less expenses, is really brutal.



Looking from the outside-in: the current recession is largely a mindset: investors panic at any sign of trouble, pull money out/refuse to invest, force companies to panic and end up ultimately hurting the consumers and the consumers' jobs.

Yasuhiro Noguchi
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@ Paul Tozour



It's possible to get together a good group of people to bootstrap a dev startup from the ashes of a layoff/studio closure. Sure, it's easier said than done, but it's not impossible if you get the right mix of people who are willing and able to put sweat equity into something new.



Not everyone who's been laid off is helpless. For some, it'll be an opportunity to do something new and cool. Maybe it won't start a gaming renaissance, but for some, it'll be an endeavor in which they'll pour their hearts and souls into.



Maybe it'll be a game that won't be designed by committee with "input" from sales and marketing departments or some random executive higher up in the corporate food chain. Maybe it'll be a game that's created by a lone developer over many years...Maybe it'll be an app on the App Store that'll have its 15 minutes of fame in the top 10 paid apps section.



The possibilities above can't be a bad thing for games. For some, I think it'll be better than working on yet another game/entertainment software that has a Roman/Arabic numeral or the year of release in its title.

Eric Scharf
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Well-stated, Yasuhiro. I recently posted a timely update to my blog, The Genuine Article, regarding a very similar subject . . . especially in terms of "it'll be better than working on yet another game/entertainment software that has a Roman/Arabic numeral or the year of release in its title."



Nonetheless, it is four-part edition entitled "Protecting Your Start-Up From Being Shot Down," and it is located at http://emscharf-the-genuine-article.blogspot.com/2009/05/protecti
ng-your-start-up-from-being.html.

Maurício Gomes
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@Austin:



I am a "nobody" I said that not because I am good (and I am not), I said that because a lot of people are bad, they are fired, and they will need to compete with students that are at a equal level or better than them...



Indeed it sounded arrogant, and in fact I am (I know that I am arrogant, it is a trait that sometimes surfaces :/), but it was not my original intention...



John Romero is not that bad... McGee... Well... Derek Smart?

Eric Carr
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I was thinking the same thing Dang. The layoffs would make it a lot harder for students or those of us who are "Indies" that would rather be "Employed." Then again, we can work for less since we don't command the same kind of salaries as super experienced developers, which can be an advantage, so it's not all bad.



@Helder. People don't get fired because they are "bad," well not always. But in this case if the entire studio closes then good, bad, indifferent, everybody's out. That seems to be the problem here.

gren ideer
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These lost job numbers are uninformative without the numbers of how many people got rehired in the same time period. How many people got hired total would be nice to contrast old blood with new. And it would always be great to compare layoff numbers this year with years past.



As Daniel said : the current recession is largely a mindset. And thoe only purpose if this article is to feed the doom and gloom without providing useful data.


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