'SOE long', as cuts come: 205 fired, 3 studios dead

'SOE long', as cuts come: 205 fired, 3 studios dead
Michael French

By Michael French

March 31st 2011 at 9:08PM

Production of ambitious MMO The Agency discontinued as Denver, Seattle and Tucson teams shutdown

As expected, Sony Online Entertainment has made deep cuts to its organisation today.

205 developers have been let go as three studios - in Denver, Seattle and Tucson - are shut down.

Spy MMO The Agency has been dropped as part of the shrink, with teams now refocused on erstwhile brands EverQuest and PlanetSide.

Games made at the Denver and Tuscon studios will 'transition' to the HQ in San Diego, which remains, as does the Austin team.

The firm looks after a raft of MMOs after pioneering the genre with the first EverQuest.

Licensed titles Star Wars The Clone Wars, DC Universe Online (made in Austin), James Patterson Catch a Killer and Magic The Gathering will still run also.

Fast growing kids' MMO Free Realms is also safe.

Although originally an independent part of the Sony business, SOE was recently put under PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai's remit and integrated into the firm's network services division.

The full statement from SOE reads:

"As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios.

"As part of this restructuring, SOE is discontinuing production of The Agency so it can focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide and EverQuest properties, while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games. All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern.

"This strategic decision will have no impact on SOE's current portfolio of live games; additionally SOE will transition development efforts for the Denver and Tucson studios' suite of products to its San Diego headquarters."

"This strategic alignment of development resources better positions SOE to remain a global leader in online gaming and deliver on its promise of creating entertaining games for players of all ages, and servicing the 20 million players that visited SOE servers in just the past year."