Report: PopCap Layoffs Included George Fan
In the middle of this terrible economy it seems like every passing day brings with it news of economic devastation for formerly employed creatives. But if Stalin was right and two million is just a statistic, then a single laid off worker, particularly one with surprising prominence, can put these events back into context. Take those rumored PopCap layoffs; yesterday, they indeed unfortunately came to pass, sad to say for the employees who just lost their jobs. But among the casualties, according to a report by 1up, is the creator of Plants Vs. Zombies, George Fan.
That’s got to hurt. Plants Vs. Zombies was a huge hit for PopCap, and not only that, the company just announced a sequel yesterday. Letting go of the man responsible for helping put your studio on the map is not only cold, it doesn’t make a lick of sense. Of course, also nonsensical is the news that PopCap intends to rehire a large number of the employees they let go yesterday. Something unsettling is going on behind the scenes, and I’m willing to bet it has more to do with the parent company’s freakout about their stock price rather than any problems at PopCap. Letting go of someone like Fan? I can’t even begin to fathom the logic.
Well, I can at least begin. About that context? My own experience with layoffs has demonstrated that the people who make the decisions of who and who not to cut often feel like taking a few scalps along the way. Financial necessities are a good excuse to shrink the pool of people who have influence and power in an organization. Just saying, layoffs aren’t always necessary, and they frequently deal tremendous damage to the organization doing them. We’ll see if this proves to be the case with PopCap, and the other EA properties rumored to be getting steep haircuts.