Welcome to Beyond Co-Op, a weekly piece that talks about industry stories that may or may not be related to co-op gaming.
The stories for this week:
- Stardock’s Impulse Sold to Gamestop
- THQ Eliminates 33 from Kaos and Volition
- Sony Online Entertainment Closes Seattle, Denver and Tuscon Studios; Eliminates 205 People and Cancels The Agency
- Ubisoft Wins Injunction Against THQ over Pilfering Talent
- Quiet Week in Releases
Stardock’s Impulse Sold to Gamestop
Evidently the revenue from Stardock’s Impulse system was dwarfing Stardock’s revenue as a developer/publisher, so they decided to sell it off. Gamestop was a willing buyer and this will obviously strengthen their business with a huge and viable online game distribution system. Arguably if the deal goes through Gamestop now becomes the #2 online distribution system behind Valve’s Steam. This is probably a fantastic move for Gamestop as I’m sure many electronic retailers (like Best Buy) are busy trying to become more fluid in what they offer and how much they offer it for.
More news about the acquisition is included in the source link below.
THQ Eliminates 33 from Kaos and Volition
I’m not hugely surprised that Kaos took a hit given that generally after the completion of a game a company sheds some positions to better operate in a “quiet” environment where a new game or game(s) are only still in the gestating period. The surprise here is Volition losing some people. They have Red Faction: Armageddon coming out in May (maybe the game is pretty much done and they’re shedding people there) and Saints Row 3 was just unveiled, coming later this year.
Sony Online Entertainment Closes Seattle, Denver and Tuscon Studios; Eliminates 205 People and Cancels The Agency
It’s sad to say, but this day has been coming for years honestly, but I never would have thought it would hit this hard. Sony Online Entertainment announced the closing of the Seattle (The Agency, which we’ll talk about in a bit), Denver and Tucson studios. They also announced 205 people would be laid off and that there would be some moves from Denver and Tucson to the San Diego studio. They are planning to put future efforts towards the Planetside and Everquest MMOs.
Along with this the long in development The Agency, being worked on in Seattle, took a headshot and is now dead.
Ubisoft Wins Injunction Against THQ over Pilfering Talent
Ubisoft won an injunction against THQ this week over their pilfering of talent in Canada starting with Patrice Desilates, former head of the group working on the Assassin’s Creed games. Desilates is currently serving a “quiet time” while his non-compete clause reaches its end before working on his new IP with THQ. Along with Desilates some other Ubisoft employees jumped ship to THQ as well. Ubisoft put a request in for an injunction to keep their employees from jumping ship because of a “non-solicit” clause in their contracts and the Canadian legal system agreed with them this week.
This may seem like small potatoes now, but with a lot of companies adding development houses in Canada, mostly around Montreal and Toronto, this could get nasty.
Quiet Week in Releases
Companies decide to take a week off after the major releases of the last two weeks. Enjoy your 3DS if you picked one up or the games that have come out lately. Don’t worry, busy time will come again soon in the later half of April.