GamesBeat

Namco Bandai to lay off 90 employees in the U.S.

Game maker Namco Bandai of America is laying off 90 employees in its U.S. offices VentureBeat has learned.

The layoffs are due to the company’s previously announced reorganization where it combined its separate mobile and online game businesses into a single division. On top of that, the company has decided to move a considerable amount of game development once done in the San Jose, Calif.-based office back to Japan.

Carlson Choi, the company’s vice president of marketing, confirmed in an interview that the company had layoffs. He said the cuts were made because there wasn’t an exact match between the company’s needs and the skills of the employees available.

“We are partnering with external development studios out there because that is where the game business is going,” he said. “Our goal is to move into digital games and broaden to different platforms. The details are being sorted out now.”

Choi said the company remains focused on making its games more accessible, social, and personal to consumers.

The reorganization announced in August was notable because of the changes sweeping through the game business. Other companies such as THQ, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. have all made moves to increase their digital games businesses recently.

Digital games are catching on because they use different business models. Console games sell for $60. But online games are often offered free-to-play, where players can play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as better weapons. That gives recession-hit gamers more options to control their spending as they go. Roughly 35 percent of game maker Electronic Arts’ business is now digital.

Under one label, the Namco Bandai team will develop games that run on multiple platforms, including consoles, the PC, mobile, the web and Apple iOS operating system products. The team will make a concerted effort to expand its presence in the social game market. The goal of having one group is to make games more accessible across more devices and to broaden the company’s consumer base, Kenji Hisatsune, head of Namco Networks, told us in August.


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