Big Fish Vancouver closed, 49 laid off

Big Fish Vancouver closed, 49 laid off
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

August 22nd 2013 at 8:04AM

Company mulls closure of Cork studio as part of major reorganisation

Big Fish is closing its Vancouver studio and will be letting go 49 employees from its Seattle office, the company has confirmed.

The Vancouver studio opened in 2008, at which point the plan was to employ some 50 workers – a number which grew to well over 100.

GamesIndustry International reports that in addition to the 49 laid off, about 70 will be “realigned” to more profitable areas of the company.

Big Fish is also planning to close its studio in Cork, Ireland, pending a 30-day consultation with employees.

The decision to close the Cork studio was made as part of a wider decision to focus on only the four biggest languages in which Big Fish deals: English, German, French, and Japanese.

Aside from the news of closures, the company is discontinuing the cloud service it announced last year and has appointed a new President and COO, John Holland.

Holland is replacing outgoing President Dave Stephenson, who will be taking a new job outside the company.

In a letter sent to all Big Fish employees, CEO and founder Paul Thelen said the company was doing well in several areas, especially casino and free-to-play, the company had to shed weight in areas that weren't as productive.

“To continue this momentum, we need to realign our resources by increasing investment in the areas that are growing or profitable and eliminating investment in areas that are not on a path to success,” wrote Thelen.

“I want to stress that our decisions are not based on our company-wide performance or that of the people working on those initiatives - both of which are strong - but because of where the market is growing, and quite frankly, where it is not.”

The new Big Fish Games will center around free-to-play and premium casual games in Seattle, which employed 524 full-time employees before today's news, and free-to-play casino games in Oakland.

“As hard as these changes are, I'm also excited about our future,” concluded Thelen.

“We have expanded our vision and realigned our resources to fully embrace the growth areas within causal games. We are now positioned to maintain and grow our market leadership as the world's largest producer of casual games, both premium and free-to-play, for PC, Mac and mobile devices.”

“We are making these adjustments from a position of strength, not weakness, and I am confident that our best days are ahead.”