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It’s hard out there for a massively multiplayer online game developer. As evidence of that, Funcom announced today the closure of its Beijing studio and layoffs at its Montreal and Raleigh offices.
Funcom is the developer of MMOs like The Secret World, Anarchy Online, and Age of Conan. Following the launch of The Secret World, it quickly shifted its focus to “smaller, high-quality online games with more limited budgets and shorter production timelines,” according to a statement on its website.
The company’s Beijing studio worked on the visuals for The Secret World. Funcom will shut that down and bring developers into its Raleigh, N.C. offices. Meanwhile, the company’s Montreal studio will send some developers to Raleigh, while shifting to work exclusively on tablet and mobile games.
“The live team in Raleigh, North Carolina, has up until today only housed our billing/tools, community, customer service, operations, and quality assurance teams,” Funcom chief executive officer Ole Schreiner said in a statement. “By bringing the developers on our live games to Raleigh, it allows us to build a stronger, more unified team that can service and support our online games as they work to expand these worlds and create new experiences for the players who inhabit them. This will also allow us to have the team staying in Montreal focus exclusively on their new responsibilities of developing for tablets and mobile devices as well as working on new tech.”
Funcom also noted that it laid off employees at both the Raleigh and Montreal offices in certain departments.
The Secret World started as a subscription-based game, but the developer recently updated it to a free-to-play model.
Funcom is currently working on an MMO based on the Lego Minifigures products.
(Thanks to Playnews.biz for the tip.)