Online games giant Oberon Media has decided to shut down in-house production, resulting in the elimination of an undetermined number of jobs, according to Oberon CEO and president Bob Hayes in an interview.
The change comes as the web-based online game market where Oberon is focused is becoming increasingly competitive.
The New York-based company will continue to publish externally developed games, which are sold under the company’s I-play brand.
Oberon has more than 30 million monthly unique visitors playing its 3,000-plus games across more than 150 partner web sites.
“There is a remarkable demand for games,” said Hayes, who joined the company about five months ago. “We have to be certain we have the right product in the right place at the right time.”
Hayes said that the layoffs will affect a number of offices and the company can’t yet say how many are affected because of regulations for giving proper notice in a number of countries. Many of the company’s internal developers are in Seattle, but Hayes said that many of these employees will be reassigned to tasks like working with external game developers.
Oberon’s internal teams have historically released about 10 games a year. The company has 380 employees and first began making its own games around six years ago.
Asked if Oberon’s business might suffer with fewer exclusive games, Hayes acknowledged that exclusivity has been an important part of Oberon’s success. But he said the amount of third-party game development talent currently available will make the switch from internal to external less painful for the company, allowing it to now reach out to a wider network of game developers than it has in the past.
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