Playdemic sold back to UK amid RockYou cutbacks

Playdemic sold back to UK amid RockYou cutbacks

By Rob Crossley

November 3rd 2011 at 10:46AM

Company changes hands again just ten months after acquisition

Manchester social games developer Playdemic has been sold back to its UK founders as previous owner Rockyou embarks on a sweeping downscaling operation.

Playdemic has been ‘spun out’ from the RockYou network just ten months since it was acquired, the group’s CEO has confirmed.

RockYou, based in California, is expected to cut up to 50 per cent of its workforce by the end of the week. It will also end its ties with Loot Drop, the social studio headed up by Brenda Braithwaite and John Romero.

The sweeping reduction measures means that Playdemic will return to its original proprietors, though neither group has publicly stated who originally owned the Manchester-based studio. Playdemic has a management team of senior execs from THQ, Ubisoft and Eidos, and has Eidos life president Ian Livingstone as a chief investor.

The UK studio built a standing in the social games space via its popular Facebook game Gourmet Ranch.

RockYou CEO Lisa Marino explained the company is too big to be profitable at its current size.

“We made a lot of mistakes in the last 12 months,” she told Inside Social Games.

“We built up a central studio that looks a lot like EA or Zynga with 45 heads in it when we really only needed 10 or 12. We developed two large-scale sim games — Social Life and Cloudforest Expedition — and Social Life was [canceled] in May and Cloudforest is in the process of being kicked back to Loot Drop.”

Marino said Playdemic’s Gourmet Ranch game is profitable, but the studio “is not building the core content that we want”.

“We don’t need 200 people to be a success,” Marino added.