It looks like another of the bloated game publishers has been hit with some misfortunes, as there are reports coming from Joystiq that Activision Publishing’s Minneapolis office has been hit with layoffs, shedding 30 full time staffers to make things a bit easier on their balance sheets. The cuts appear to be coming on the Publishing side of things and not bleeding over into the creative side of the industry in the development side of things.
The statement that they gave to Joystiq claims that they will be cutting back on pushing licensed titles in 2013, and thusly needed less staff to handle licensing issues on the Publishing front. This means that 2013 for Activision will feature less in the way of games like Bond and more of their own Intellectual Property, which isn’t always a bad thing. We’ve seen THQ recently shed some expensive licenses, namely the UFC, to focus more on other ventures.
“Like any successful business, Activision Publishing consistently works to align its costs with its revenues – this is an ongoing process. In 2013, we expect that our Minneapolis division will release fewer games based on third-party licenses than we released during 2012,” an Activision spokesperson informed Joystiq in a prepared statement.
“As a result, we are realigning the structure of our Activision Minneapolis division to better reflect our slate and the market opportunities. We are working to redirect those employees that are impacted to other parts of the company where possible, as well as offering them outplacement counseling services.”
I have a hard time seeing this as a bad thing, as a lot of games with fancy licenses turn out to be garbage outside of sports licenses. Film tie-ins always sound like a great idea on paper, but are usually met with stressful, short development cycles and are pushed to market in a sorry state. Unless a license is incredibly profitable, it is probably safe to say that developing your own ideas will always yield more money in the end.