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Layoffs come to 'The Secret World' developer Funcom (update)

The Secret World
The Secret World

The Secret World developer Funcom hit with massive layoffs.

Norwegian developer Funcom, maker of Age of Conan and the recently launched The Secret World, was hit with layoffs today that are speculated to affect about half of the studio's worldwide staff, part of previously announced "cost-adjustment initiatives."

A Funcom representative confirmed to Polygon that the developer is in the process of laying off staff, but would not confirm the extent of the cutbacks.

"As we announced in the stock notice that went out on August 10th, Funcom is in the process of reducing operational costs and this process includes temporary layoffs as well as other initiatives," reads a statement from the company. "As we are currently in the middle of this process we can not provide any further comment at the present time. Rest assured however that we have long-term plans for the company and that we remain fully committed to all of our games."

Funcom declined to clarify the number of employees affected, citing the ongoing nature of the cutbacks.

On August 10th, the company announced in an investor update that Funcom was "currently implementing several cost-adjustment initiatives due to the expected lower initial revenues from The Secret World to secure future positive cash flows." At the time, Funcom lamented The Secret World's lower-than-expected review scores and financial expectations for the massively multiplayer online game co-published with EA. Polygon's review of The Secret World awarded it a 6.5 out of 10 — slightly lower than its 72 Metacritic average — calling it "unique and powerful" but "underdeveloped."

Update: Funcom confirms in an official statement that about half of the company has been affected by layoffs.

As mentioned in the stock notice of 10 August 2012, Funcom has initiated a process to reduce operational costs following the launch of its most recent massively multiplayer online game 'The Secret World'. The process includes several initiatives such as layoffs and temporary layoffs of some employees in Montreal, Durham, Oslo and Beijing.

Some of these initiatives are part of normal procedure following the launch of a major project, such as adjustments to the customer service staffing based on the number of customers in the game as well as adjustments to the production team as the project goes into a post-launch phase following years of intense development. Many of those affected on the customer service team are on temporary contracts which is common for a live service such as 'The Secret World' where customer service demand shifts based on the game's population levels.

Around half of the company's personnel have been affected, with some departments being more affected than others. To make sure Funcom is in the best possible position to realize its plans for both existing games as well as future projects, the company is focusing on retaining as many as possible on the production teams.

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