EVE Online Dev CCP Suffers Big Layoffs… Again

By Nathan Grayson on June 6th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

EVE Online might be producing some of the best stories in all of gaming, but times have been sort of rough at developer CCP lately, and today might just come as the fiercest blow yet. In the wake of previous layoffs due to the cancellation of vampire MMO World of Darkness, the King of the Sandbox has pink slipped another 49 employees – this time from its main Iceland studio. Anybody looking for a new lead entire universe breath-life-into-er?

CCP issued the following statement on the matter:

“As part of our strategy to focus on the EVE Universe, today CCP conducted a restructuring that resulted in the layoff of 49 people in our publishing organization. Though it is hard to say goodbye to our friends and family, this action concludes the process we started several months ago. CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.”

“Development teams and plans for EVE Online, EVE: Valkyrie, DUST 514and Project Legion’ are not impacted by the restructuring.”

However, Polygon‘s sources claimed that this is actually a major blow to CCP’s Reykjavik office, and employees at other locations are affected too. Investor pressure is apparently to blame.

So that’s bad. CCP is an impressively large company – at least, as far as technically independent developers go – but it’s bled more than 100 employees in only a couple months. That’s a big blow by almost any standard.

Moreover, a report recently emerged at The Guardian that didn’t exactly paint World of Darkness’ development process in a positive light (or dark I guess, since vampires don’t do the whole light thing). The report claims that the game was directionless, de-prioritized, and stymied by a general state of disarray in CCP’s upper management.

Messy. Maybe lightening the load a bit might help CCP clean up its act in the long run, but layoffs are never good. Best of luck to all affected. If anyone would like to get in touch about what exactly is going on behind-the-scenes at CCP, you can reach me through the byline at the top of this article (or the Nathan Signal, but nobody ever uses the Nathan Signal). Anonymity’s guaranteed unless you’d prefer otherwise.

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20 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    “Development teams…are not impacted by the restructuring.”

    Um, what? Exactly what were these 49 people doing that wasn’t game development? I recognize that CCP needs marketers, lawyers, office mangers, etc. But, well, they still do – it’s not like they laid off all the non-game-devs – and I fail to see how a company that size had 49 extra heads just floating around.

    • samsevenfive says:

      “Development teams and plans for EVE Online, EVE: Valkyrie, DUST 514, and ‘Project Legion’ are not impacted by the restructuring.”

      The 49 that were laid off were working on the cancelled MMO World of Darkness.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lexx87 says:

        No, this is another lot of employees in addition to the World of Darkness lot.

      • sunarinelentari says:

        the WoD team were made redundant when they cancelled the project in April.

    • Shuck says:

      The article says they were in publishing. I suppose that could mean a reduction in community managers, people working in marketing, people working on foreign publishing in markets they’re no longer focusing on, etc.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kelron says:

      It’s marketing speak for “don’t panic, we’re still making these games”.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    I dislike EVE quite intensely, but I feel for those affected by this. I hope they find work soon.

    And I hope this doesn’t affect Valkyrie.

  3. Bostec says:

    I was thinking about subbing back up to EVE but after reading that Guardian acticle, they can sub write off.

    No matter what you do or who you work for, in the end, its the management that let you down.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Yes, I wonder how many of the people let go were made up of this upper management that was apparently in such disarray.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I’m going to guess none. Not a single one.

        Mind you, when they do well, who do you think will be first to get a bonus?

    • ludovsky says:

      “However, Polygon‘s sources claimed that this is actually a major blow to CCP’s Reykjavik office, and employees at other locations are affected too. Investor pressure is apparently to blame.”

      As it stands like, it sounds like it’s investors(namely, share-holders -outside- of management) who are to blame rather than management.

      So in this case it’s less “management” which you should blame for your decisions, but shareholders without any effing knowledge of how gaming works pressuring a successful studio into potentially crippling themselves for the one time they had a mislip, because said shareholders have not a single idea how game development goes and do not care about anything else than their own bottom line without even any knowledge of how the studio they invested into got there into the first place.

    • Shuck says:

      That Guardian article was disturbing. I’ve seen similar things happen before (from the inside, no less) – a company gets lucky with one popular game that allows them to expand quickly, but they fundamentally really don’t know what they’re doing and it all crashes down around them. In this case it seems like particularly bad management, and that’s saying something, as bad management is pretty common in the industry – I mean, it’s a fairly common problem in a lot of industries, but the game industry is particularly bad. You have the general problem that people who show an aptitude for development and actually stay in the industry long enough get promoted into management, something for which they’ve shown no aptitude. But you have the added problem that developers don’t stay in the industry long enough to have a reasonable pool of experienced workers from which to draw on for management hiring. Most of the people I know who have made it into management in the game industry don’t even want to be there – they’d rather be developing, but outdated skills and the threat of a salary cut usually keep them there.
      It seems crazy that CCP turned a P&P game company into an MMO development company (there’s not a whole lot of overlap in the skill sets), but they really torpedoed their efforts by stealing developers for other projects and saddling them with poor management.

  4. Geebs says:

    Any news on whether the employees were forced into a submission position by an MMA fighter before being escorted from the building?

  5. Dozer says:

    Can I preempt the people who hate the existence of articles about EVE: I can promise you, an absolute cast-iron guarantee, this will be the last EVE article RPS ever ever publish, in all of eternal future, until the next one.

    Sorry to hear about those employees. I hope they find interesting work soon!

    • derbefrier says:

      i don’t mind eve articles even though i dont play it. they can be fun to read. I have always thought articles about people getting fired were a bit unnecessary though.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    I had something along the lines of “tens of thousands of dollars wiped out in hours in EVE online” but that seems tasteless, so I’ll just say that I hope the people affected come out ok.

  7. CedaVelja says:

    I was sure that of all the gaming news out there rps will be the one to actually call out ccp on the whole WOD debacle……
    I am so disappointed in you……
    That whole guardian story could have been yours, if you only wanted to write it instead of reporting live from ccp palooza.

    • Distec says:

      I’m sure they totally share in your disappointment.

      Because all journalists exist in the same place and time, have all the same contacts, and can cover all the same things.

  8. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    “Investor pressure is apparently to blame.” wait ? this is payback or revenge to investors ? wow this is harsh.

  9. Cruniac says:

    This last round of layoffs is just insane. A lot of those that were laid off had been with the company for more than 6 years. Some of them for over 10 years. This includes programmers as well as senior GMs as well as other staff.

    These were some of the people that had been building EVE from the start. It just goes to show the depth of the companies rot. It used to be truly great.