Update: WB Confirms Lay Offs at Turbine

Update: WB Confirms Lay Offs at Turbine

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We don't know much, but Turbine might be the latest MMO company to thin its ranks.

Update: The Boston Globe reports that a Warner Bros. Interactive spokesperson confirmed the layoffs today with the following statement: "As part of the continual review of our business operations and fluctuating market conditions, we have had to make reductions in our Turbine workforce. The group continues to remain an integral part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment."

We still don't know how many individuals were dismissed but we've heard reports that many different departments have been affected.

Original post: Boston-based Turbine has quietly been spinning along make a profit with its two now free to play MMOS - Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online. The former recently released a huge new expansion adding the nation of Rohan to its map - which I previewed here - and D&D Online has received many updates during its tenure. Today, a Tweet from a strange source in the Boston area - a recruiter for an internet startup incubator called Cogo Labs - is the first source to announce that Turbine will be laying off some workers.

"Sorry to hear about layoffs at Turbine today," Kevin Fanning wrote on Twitter at 1pm today. "Real nice game dev scene we used to have in Boston."

Keep in mind, these layoffs could be the now routine culling of extra staff that comes after a major product ships. Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan came out on October 15th, so such redundancies would only make sense. Turbine has hired a bunch of developers and staff recently though, most notably Ken Rolston formerly of 38 Studios before it blew up and Bethesda, perhaps for a new project. If that's the case, it seems odd to lay people off instead of shifting staff to the new game.

There doesn't appear to be any confirmation from Turbine or parent company Warner Bros. Interactive yet. I've sent emails to both companies to confirm or deny the layoffs, and I'll update this story if I hear more.

Source: Twitter

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I would be surprised if it was anything more than the contract workers being let go. DDO and LOTRO seem to be some big behemoths in the Free-To-Play market and Turbines been making some boat loads of cash with them and the other MMO's they've gotten a hold of.

There is something seriously messed up happening in the games industry, when companies laying off a bunch of workers after they ship a game is becoming the norm.

It's been the norm for almost the entire history of the games industry.

elilupe:
There is something seriously messed up happening in the games industry, when companies laying off a bunch of workers after they ship a game is becoming the norm.

Its something to do with the 60% drop in sales. The games industry has been remarkably immune to the overall economy, but I think this is due to the long lead times. Games going on sale now would have been given the go ahead in 08/09 and since then the numbers of new projects have declined.

I've been a huge Turbine fan for a while now. I've defended them through pretty much every stupid complaint people have raised.

Even I won't defend them against the backlash from the incredibly stupid decisions they've made in the past year, from selling to WB (What the hell was that? They were having parties to celebrate their split from Atari, complained about the bullshit they had to put up with from a Parent Company that cared more about profits than the products, and then sell out to another company that cares about nothing but profit?) to the numerous missteps involving Rohan (Really? I can't use any of the mounts I've spent years gathering? The people who spent $20 on mounts from the store can't use those mounts? Are you TRYING to piss people off?), to the complete disregard for the quality of the game (Why would you phase-out characters required to advance storyline quests? Why the hell wouldn't you put them in an instance? Why the hell would you prohibit GMs from advancing those quests?).

Well the Dungeons & Dragons Online department only have about half a dozen staff anyway, judging by the length of their "known issues" list.

My two best friends worked for Turbine up until last week after working on DDO for more than a year. Both were expecting it but it still felt pretty gross when it finally happened. I'm proud of them though, both have interviews with another company in the next week!

 

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