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GOG lays off a dozen employees, say it's not cause for alarm

GOG, the DRM-free games store owned by CD Projekt, have confirmed they laid off “around a dozen” people last week. GOG say it’s no problem, they’re just reorganising, and that they’re hiring more than they let go. One of the affected employees has whispered that these layoffs made up 10% of GOG’s staff, and that the company may be in more financial trouble than they publicly let on. All we know for certain is that some folks have been shown the door.

“We have been rearranging certain teams since October 2018, effecting in closing around a dozen of positions last week,” GOG said in a statement to Kotaku. “At the same time, since the process started we have welcomed nearly twice as many new team members, and currently hold 20 open positions.”

They make out like it’s no big deal, business as usual, just a reorganisation. One of the laid-off employees, speaking to Kotaku as an anonymous source, claims things are a bit bumpier than GOG suggest.

“We were told it’s a financial decision,” the person told Kotaku. “GOG’s revenue couldn’t keep up with growth, the fact that we’re dangerously close to being in the red has come up in the past few months, and the market’s move towards higher revenue shares has, or will, affect the bottom line as well. I mean, it’s just an odd situation, like things got really desperate really fast. I know that February was a really bad month, but January on the other hand was excellent. We were in the middle of a general restructuring, moving some teams around, not unprecedented. But layoffs that big have never happened before.”

That former employee may not have the full picture, of course, and may not be best pleased with the company. Don’t take it as solid fact. Unless something dramatic happens, we’ll likely need to wait a bit for firm word on the state of affairs. CD Projekt are due to report on 2018’s full financials in March, and for the first quarter of 2019 in May.

While the launch of the Epic Games Store is surely a concern for GOG, another big competitor joining the scene, GOG still have a different focus. They’re GOG doing their DRM-free thing, appealing to an audience that will have less interest in installing another store client and facing DRM. Epic are primarily gunning for Steam too, taking a smaller cut of sales and throwing around vast amounts of money to jump-start the exclusives and giveaways that have come naturally to Steam. But all competition is surely a concern for GOG.

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Alice O'Connor

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