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Bigpoint lays off 120, halts development in U.S.
Bigpoint lays off 120, halts development in U.S.
October 23, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

October 23, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Bigpoint (Battlestar Galactica Online) has laid off more than 120 workers, over a third of whom are from its San Francisco studio, as the online game company abandons development in the U.S.

Founder and CEO Heiko Hubertz said the German company is cutting its staff in the States because it doesn't believe developing games in the U.S. is the most efficient strategy for Bigpoint. The developer and portal operator opened the San Francisco branch less than three years ago.

"The games that we have developed in the last two years haven't been that successful, and the San Francisco area and Bay Area is quite a competitive market," Hubertz told GamesIndustry.biz. "San Francisco is, after New York, one of the most expensive cities you can live in in the US, so the people are quite expensive."

Hubertz also disclosed that he is stepping down due to separate personal reasons, and will begin serving as the executive chariman for Bigpoint's board at the end of the year -- the company will announce his successor then. Hubertz attempted to resign before, but his intended replacement Arthur Bastings didn't work out.

Along with more than 40 employees now out of work at the San Francisco studio, around 80 of Bigpoint's staff in Hamburg -- mostly in the company's administrative departments -- have been laid off.

These layoffs follow just three months after Bigpoint closed its mobile division, laid off 29 employees, and canceled a number of games. The company says that none of its projects currently under development will be affected by this latest headcount reduction.


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Comments


Jane Castle
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Wow they just figured out that the cost of living in SF is high after they built up the studio????? I guess they will start the next studio in Tokyo Japan....

Jon Jennings
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Strange that Bigpoint cannot tell the truth on why their games are not successful in the U.S. Could it be the total lack of customer support? I have seen in their products players accounts hacked with no recourse. Credit billing that they refuse to refund when their system glitches resulting in accounts being flagged for fraud.

My favorite is the TOS that they change on a pretty regular basis that you are forced to agree to before logging in to an account that you have paid a 6 month subsciption to. What can a player do? They have already paid for the account and need to get in. Then you find there is an obscure change in the TOS that allows them to suspend, sieze or ban your ship for pointing out the apps that are running on the server.

Bigpoint is not losing business because an area is 'expensive to develope in'. They have lost busines because they have mis-managed their properties and ignored their customer base for at least 2 full years. Gama should ask them to explain why there are so many 3rd party apps available for players to run in their game for 'help'. The refusal to admit that there are issues and the rampant and swift punishment of any customer who brings this subject up in the game is pathetic. It was a small problem 2 years ago. Because management ignored it the app developers took it as an open environment and have been prolific.

Hopefully a new management team will come in and change the focus from short term profits to player satisfaction. Word of mouth can kill a game. Any editor can go to the Dark Orbit forum in Speakers Corner to see where players are tracking the active user drop across all servers.


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