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Cyan Lays Off Almost 50 After Gamecock Acquisition

Cyan Lays Off Almost 50 After Gamecock Acquisition

November 12, 2008 | By Eric Caoili

November 12, 2008 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Spokane-based Cyan Worlds (Myst Online: Uru Live) laid off close to 50 employees from its CyanTest QA division following SouthPeak Interactive's acquisition of Gamecock Media Group, Cyan's primary client.

With the layoffs, CyanTest has only seven workers left evaluating beta games for other smaller developers, CEO Tony Fryman told local paper The Spokesman Review.

Southpeak (Two Worlds, Ninjatown), a publisher headquartered in Richmond, VA, acquired Austin's Gamecock in October, along with its slate of titles including Legendary, Mushroom Men and Velvet Assassin. Fryman is uncertain that Cyan will be able to renew its game testing deal with SouthPeak.

The QA division was established in 2005 as an extension of Cyan's own internal testing group for its own games. CyanTest was meant to generate a steady stream of revenue for the company while also keeping skilled workers employed.

"We’re contacting the individual developers to see if [we can] continue to move forward," said Fryman. Cyan is seeking development opportunities with other game studios who had been funded by Gamecock. The company has also pitched a new video game to several publishers but hasn't yet secured funding for the project.

Earlier this year, online gaming platform GameTap discontinued its service for Cyan MMO Myst Online: Uru Live. Cyan was later able to acquire the Myst Online's rights and planned to resurrect the game on its own servers with new content.

The company announced in early October, however, that it was forced to suspend the MORE (Myst Online Restoration Experiment) project, revealing that "a major revenue stream to Cyan was disrupted."

"For the upstart smaller (game) firms trying to get funding, this is a terrible market," said Fryman.

Cyan is currently working on porting PC classic Myst to the iPhone and iPod Touch, a project the studio says is "progressing very well."

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