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PlayStation will lay off 900 employees, including ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man’ and ‘The Last of Us’ developers


PlayStation is laying off around eight percent of its workforce, a cut that will put approximately 900 people out of a job. It isn’t a complete surprise considering the ongoing trend of mass layoffs in tech and games, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting.

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) CEO Jim Ryan announced the layoffs in a blog post on Tuesday, sharing an email that had been sent to employees that morning. In it, Ryan stated that the layoffs will affect workers across PlayStation’s entire global business, with all impacted US employees to be notified that same day.

“After careful consideration and many leadership discussions over several months, it has become clear changes need to be made to continue to grow the business and develop the company,” Ryan wrote. “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the long-term sustainability of the company and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

One might argue that laying off 900 people seems like the opposite of growing a company. Unfortunately, SIE appears to believe that, at least in this case, delivering good experiences to its fans necessitates delivering horrible experiences to its employees. 

Which PlayStation Studios are facing layoffs?

The layoffs will affect several PlayStation Studios, a collection of about 20 game developers owned by SIE. In a separate blog post, PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst revealed that The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog and Marvel’s Spider-Man developer Insomniac Games are among the US-based studios impacted. 

This doesn’t mean other studios such as God of War developer Santa Monica Studio are in the clear though, with Hulst stating that there will also be “some smaller reductions in other teams across PlayStation Studios.”

“We looked at our studios and our portfolio, evaluating projects in various stages of development, and have decided that some of those projects will not move forward,” wrote Hulst.

Sadly, international studios aren’t safe either. Layoffs at Dutch Horizon series developer Guerrilla Games are being considered, while at least two UK studios are also on the chopping block. Though the decision hasn’t been set in stone, SIE has proposed completely shutting down SingStar developer London Studio and reducing the headcount at Horizon Call of the Mountain co-developer Firesprite. The company will begin “collective consultation” with its employees before making a final decision regarding the UK studios’ fates.

SIE only acquired Firesprite in 2021, a deal that probably feels a bit sour to the studio now. 

“We have brought brilliant and successful Studios into our family,” wrote Hulst. “But growth itself is not an ambition. PlayStation Studios is committed to continually discovering ways to work together; collaborating and combining our efforts to ensure that we are able to craft games that push the boundaries of play and deliver what you expect from us.”

It’s a muddy statement in light of Ryan’s assertion that these layoffs were necessary “to grow the business.” Mashable has reached out to SIE for comment.

Game developers cut despite ‘blockbuster hit’

Both Ryan and Hulst did note the talent of its soon-to-be laid off employees, and thanked them for their contributions to SIE’s success. Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 had even received an explicit shout out in SIE’s FY2023 Q3 earnings report earlier this month, with the company calling it a “blockbuster hit” after it sold over 10 million copies within just four months of its release.

Unfortunately, such warm words are likely cold comfort to those being thrust back into the unforgiving job market. SIE’s job cuts feel particularly bitter considering the CEO’s insistence that PlayStation’s layoffs are “not indicative of a lack of strength of our company, our brand, or our industry,” but an effort to “streamline [PlayStation’s] resources to ensure our continued success.” 

Employees impacted by the layoffs will receive severance benefits, while a “next career support program” will be implemented for those in Japan.

“In other countries, we will begin conversations with those who are potentially at risk or impacted as a result of this proposed course of action,” wrote Ryan.

It’s a terrible time to work in tech right now, and the games industry has been no exception. Microsoft cut 1,900 jobs from its gaming division in January, while game engine developer Unity let go of 1,800 staff that same month. There have been countless more layoffs across numerous game studios both large and small, from League of Legends developer Riot Games to Solium Infernum 2 developer League of Geeks. This year alone, around 6,500 people in games had been laid off by the time we were just one week into February.





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