I'm going to officially declare January as the worst month in the history of the gaming industry in terms of employment. By my count there have been over 10 separate instances of job loss with over 30,000 people having lost or about to lose their job.
It all started back in early January when a good chunk of the 1UP Staff was let go and EGM shut down as Hearst Inc purchased 1UP from Ziff Davis. This resulted in over 30 job losses and many industry journalists scrambling to find jobs.
From there, things just sort of steam rolled with daily layoffs, studio closures and more being announced every day.
Gusto Games closed down their Derby based studio in the UK. Gusto is most famous for the Championship Manager series. Fourteen members of their staff lost their jobs as a result. Another small studio named Oxygen games has gone up for sale as well resulting in another 14 jobs lost.
And I'm just getting started.
Eidos cut 30 jobs at Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics after poor sales of the latest game in the franchise. And by poor sales I mean 1.5 million copies.
Sega cut 30 members of their staff as well, citing difficult economic times.
Factor 5, makers of Lair, has also cut half of their staff with 37 employees being let go.
Aspyr Media has let go one third of their staff due to the troubling economic times. Aspyr is famous for numerous PC ports including Call of Duty 4 and Guitar Hero.
Then there's mega company Electronic Arts. While not all reports are confirmed there are multiple studio closures and cuts by the company. First up was EA Studio Pandemic Brisbrane in Australia. The rumor reported the studio was in the process of shutting down with all members losing their jobs. Two hundred members of EA's Black Box studio were also let go and shortly the entire studio will be closed down - one of the nine in total EA plans on shutting down. EA's Mythic was also hit with 15 jobs being lost. The big shocker for EA is their Tiburon Studio, makers of the Madden series, has cut their work fore as well.
Microsoft is up next, with an announced 1400 job cuts coming yesterday there's some big players being hurt here. First up is the Flight Simulator Studio ACES - it looks like the entire staff here has been let go. Of course we also have the announced Ensemble Studios closure coming in March after Halo Wars launches. Microsoft's community outreach blog, The Gamerscore Blog, has also been shut down - and while it first looked like the staff members would have a job elsewhere in the Xbox group - most have now been laid off. Some members of the Games for Windows team were also affected.
It's a bleak bleak picture. And it wouldn't be complete without mentioning mega electronics retailers and game retailer Circuit City is liquidating their 567 stores and closing up shop for good resulting in 30,000 unemployed workers.
Update: And since I wrote this article this morning, we have another closure. This time Eidos has closed their Manchester Studio which employs 14 people.