OOF, Eurocom Lays Off 75% of Staff

It’s a good thing they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving day in the UK, because a few hundred British gaming developers would be cursing the very concept. In a statement issued to GI, Eurocom Director Hugh Binns has confirmed that the studio behind the recent flop James Bond 007 Legends has been forced to lay off the majority of its employees.

“Eurocom are undertaking a restructuring which I regret to say has meant we’ve made the majority of our workforce redundant today,” he said. “This includes many very experienced, talented and highly skilled employees, and we’d like to thank them all for your hard work and efforts. We’ve fought to try and save as many jobs as possible, but the steep decline in demand for console games, culminating in a number of console projects falling through in the last week, left us with no option. Eurocom has retained a core staff of just under 50 employees and will be focusing mainly on mobile opportunities moving forward.”

We obviously question the claim that the problem is a lack of demand for console games. Black Ops 2 made $500 million in one day, the vast majority of its sales coming from consoles. Borderlands 2 has shipped more than 5 million copies and while not the world’s biggest blockbuster, currently enjoys healthy sales of around $110 million (note that those kinds of sales have been the norm for hit games for the last several years.) Even new a IP like Dishonored has enjoyed healthy sales (currently, that game has made around $50 million, double its production budget), even if it hasn’t been as spectacularly popular as its more established counterparts.

The fact is that 007 Legends flopped because everyone who played it felt that it was rushed, was too short, and feels like a generic shooter. It probably didn’t help that one of 007 Legends’ levels was blatantly removed from the final version of the game for the sole purpose of being sold separately as post-launch DLC. If you ask me, the problem here isn’t lack of demand for console games, it’s a lack of demand for bad console games, and for being ripped off. Maybe if they’d released a complete game that was actually fun, this could have been avoided.

Alas, the emerging consensus being pushed by major publishers that the reason for the industry’s woes is that Gamers aren’t reliable customers is gaining more traction. Hopefully, switching to the mobile market just as it’s plateauing doesn’t prove a fatal error for the developer. This is a bad outcome for the employees at Eurocom, particularly as it is happening right as we’re going into the holidays, and our thoughts will be with them, even if we have to repeat that part of the problem is that the studio released a bad game. Here’s hoping their severance packages are generous, and that they find work soon.

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2 Comments on OOF, Eurocom Lays Off 75% of Staff

R.J.

On November 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I’m with you on this, Ross. More and more, I see developers downsize after a flop and say that their new focus will be on mobile/social gaming, but I feel like the idea to do so is coming from the wrong place. Like you said, it isn’t that there isn’t demand for console games, it’s that there isn’t demand for bad games. A license like James Bond isn’t the magic selling point it used to be because gamers have gotten wise to the trick. Perhaps instead of saying, “Well, that game flopped. Let’s do something entirely different,” the better thing to do is figure out why it flopped and see if improvements can be made rather than abandoning ship immediately. Completely changing what the company is going to do seems like a knee-jerk reaction. I know the emphasis is always on profits, and games are incredibly expensive to make, but I think it is a mistake for so many companies to fire most of their staff and switch to mobile games when that hasn’t proven to be a very reliable revenue source.

Kevin

On November 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Just thinking aloud as someone who doesn’t play mobile games….

If mobile is really what all these guys think it will be, won’t competition (eventually!) require companies to deliver better and better product? And since these guys couldn’t develop a very good console product, what’s going to happen once they have to make good mobile product?