'Brighton games scene solid as a rock despite NCsoft redundancies'

'Brighton games scene solid as a rock despite NCsoft redundancies'
Michael French

By Michael French

September 17th 2008 at 8:36PM

Wired Sussex says UK's south coast industry hub is stable despite MMO firm's restructuring

Brighton newspaper The Argus has followed up on the 'shock' redundancies at the city's NCsoft studio - but says the local games industry is strong enough to weather any such turmoil.

Last week, NCsoft confirmed that close to 60 jobs amongst its development team - pretty much all of its game studio in Brighton - were 'at risk' following global restructuring by the MMO firm.

NCsoft had even previously managed to secure close to £1m from regional development agency Seeda to help grow its studio. (The status of the grant, of which NCsoft has already received £141,000, is uncertain The Argus reports.)

But the news "came as shock to the games industry in Brighton, which has been in rude health recently with a number of new firms setting up in the city" says the newspaper.

However the county's digital media organisation says that redundant staff will be absorbed by other local studios.

Phil Jones, managing director of Wired Sussex, said: “It seems this is the consequence of one of [NCsoft's] games not selling as well as expected, not the credit crunch or anything like that.

“It is a shame but it is not going to stop the computer games industry in Brighton from growing. The industry is established enough in the city that it does not depend on one big company like NCSoft.

“It is also a massive shame for the individuals who work there. However, there is not a games company in Brighton not currently recruiting so it’s extremely hopeful many of the employees will not have to leave the city to find alternative employment.”

Other studios or development teams in the city include Relentless, Zoe Mode, Disney Black Rock Studio, Club Penguin, Babel, Second Life and Pulled Pin.