Big Fish Loses 49 Staff, Says There's No Profit In Cloud

Big Fish Loses 49 Staff, Says There's No Profit In Cloud

The Vancouver studio has been shut down, while Seattle is undergoing consolidation.

Big Fish Games, one of the larger casual gaming companies out there, has let 49 of its staff go and closed its Vancouver studio. The losses represent about 9% of Big Fish's total headcount, and could also mean the closure of its Cork, Ireland branch, opened just two years ago. Closure of the Cork branch is almost certain, but is subject to a month-long consultation that Big Fish is now having with its employees. Dave Stephenson, former president and COO, is on his way out to take a job elsewhere; his replacement is John Holland.

"The pace of change in our industry requires us to invest in the areas where we are growing and position us for the future," says Big Fish founder Paul Thelen. The cloud isn't one of those growth areas, and "is not on a path to profitability," according to Thelen. Costs of streaming games are just too high, and the users aren't as keen on using the cloud as Big Fish had hoped. The 49 job losses are at Big Fish's Seattle location; the Vancouver staff are expected to pick up sticks and move down to Seattle, Big Fish's game production hub. The Cork branch was focused on language localization, but Big Fish intends to concentrate on four languages - English, French, German and Japanese - which means it doesn't need its Cork office any more.

Big Fish hopes that these changes will secure its long-term future. Whether it will or not, its belief that cloud gaming isn't in its future is interesting to say the least; other companies, like Ouya, have made cloud gaming an integral part of the service. Maybe this is just a Big Fish problem; time will tell.

Source: GI.biz

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Its good to see atleast one game company look at reality and accept it. Without asking the PR department weather or not this might be a good business decision. I wish them luck. It sounds like they might be on the right path now.

The small companies see it first. Microsoft and Sony won't realize it for another 5 years, and after they sunk a few hundred million in to it.

Oh, I don't know. I could see Cloud marketed as a bonu character in many games and that being a selling point.

Oh, that...Other...Cloud.

*ahem* Never mind.

Antari:
Its good to see atleast one game company look at reality and accept it.

I don't know. The reality at this point seems to be you say "the clooooooooud" and a lot of people will spark up like you just promised them a ride to Candyland on a winged pony of their choice (I choose Rainbow Dash, because ponies).

Vancouver employees expected to move to Seattle? Ya, I can't see that going over very well. Unless they're offering them the same level of health insurance (doubt it) and protection as an employee (highly doubt it). There's a lot of other software and game companies in Vancouver for them to work at.

Zachary Amaranth:
I don't know. The reality at this point seems to be you say "the clooooooooud" and a lot of people will spark up like you just promised them a ride to Candyland on a winged pony of their choice (I choose Rainbow Dash, because ponies).

It's being used as the acceptable face of DRM, always on connection required to play? Oh no, it's cloud computing to improve your user experience (and ensure you are always connected to our server when playing the game).

Cloud saves are nice, but all this 'remote processing' lark is BS from some marketing guy...

... if you get Rainbow Dash, who gets Pebble Dash?

Look, I'm not huge into the casual scene, but just what were they using "the cloud" for? They make simple Match 3 games that are 30mb tops. It's not like you're streaming a massive game that takes hours to download or has a hard time running on normal desktops. Hell, this was just one step above flash.

IanDavis:
Look, I'm not huge into the casual scene, but just what were they using "the cloud" for?

They were looking into streaming and games-on-demand, so players could just browse through Big Fish's library and play anything at any time without a separate download & install of each one.

fix-the-spade:

Zachary Amaranth:
I don't know. The reality at this point seems to be you say "the clooooooooud" and a lot of people will spark up like you just promised them a ride to Candyland on a winged pony of their choice (I choose Rainbow Dash, because ponies).

It's being used as the acceptable face of DRM, always on connection required to play? Oh no, it's cloud computing to improve your user experience (and ensure you are always connected to our server when playing the game).

Cloud saves are nice, but all this 'remote processing' lark is BS from some marketing guy...

... if you get Rainbow Dash, who gets Pebble Dash?

At the same time, the marketing is there because it largely works. I think Microsoft's only failure was that they bit off too much too soon. Companies are selling shit just by saying "the clooooooooooooooooud" because to the layperson they might as well be saying "maaaaaagic!" There is a limit to how far this can go, and we may have reached it.

For now.

The problem there is that boundaries change.

Imagine this. If SimCity's launch had gone off without a hitch, if they had bothered to actually put up working servers in sufficient numbers, would it have resulted in the same reaction? I say no. I mean, some people were complaining anyway (and rightfully so, since they wanted a single-player game and community is sort of forced), but the number of people who just gleefully played the game would be higher and without the massive controversy it probably would have been an unmitigated success. It's predominantly a failure in any metric based on the fact that they had to halt sales/refund money/whatever.

In short, the only reason EA had problems is because they underperformed in their bullshit DRM move. Because I agree it is one. But had they rode out the launch without such a major failure on the server end, everything would be much different. Even a failure down the road wouldn't have mattered as much. It probably would have made some people mad but it would be accepted by most as the nature of the beast.

therealjeffa:

IanDavis:
Look, I'm not huge into the casual scene, but just what were they using "the cloud" for?

They were looking into streaming and games-on-demand, so players could just browse through Big Fish's library and play anything at any time without a separate download & install of each one.

I would argue that it wasn't really necessary, though, since most of the games weren't exactly the top of the line graphically, so any processing power saved by the user would be minimal, while the requirement for a good internet connection (something that many casual players may not have) would not have helped in that regard.

 

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