Electronic Arts has closed PopCap Dublin, laying off 96 employees.
The "exploratory consultation" into the future of PopCap's office in Dublin, Ireland has come to a bad end, as the studio has been closed outright, resulting in the loss of 96 jobs. PopCap said that "many" of the employees have been offered jobs elsewhere in PopCap, in other EA studios or with "technology partners in Ireland."
PopCap Dublin focused primarily on ports and mobile game development, but that apparently wasn't enough to enable it to fit into EA's current strategy. EA Games President Frank Gibeau explained in August following an earlier round of layoffs that the company was cutting parts of PopCap that are "duplicative" of services already offered by Electronic Arts, and noted that the company is "pivoting a little bit harder towards mobile and away from social." 50 PopCap employees were cut during that initial round of layoffs, including Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.
"Europe remains a critical market for PopCap and we will continue to grow our presence through centralized services operated from our North American offices and through the extensive European EA network," the company said in a statement. "In Ireland, EA announced last week the addition of 300 jobs for its European Customer Experience Center in Galway, almost doubling the number of staff." The Galway call center currently employs nearly 400 people.
It's a sad come-down for a studio that was once a can't-lose hit-making machine. We wish all the best to everyone affected by the cuts.