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Confirmed: SOE drops 205 staff, cans The Agency

Thursday, 31 March 2011 19:19 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Sony Entertainment Online has released an official statement regarding earlier rumors of studio closures and the reduction of a third of its total staff. It has confirmed the closure of its Denver, Seattle, and Tuscon studios and the cancellation of The Agency.

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.”

The statement said that all possible steps are being taken to “ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern.”

Additionally SOE will transition development efforts for the Denver and Tucson studios’ suite of products to its San Diego headquarters in order to “better position 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.”

It was reported earlier by Kotaku that the MMO developer’s Seattle, Tucson, and Denver studios had been closed, with all staff sacked.

The Austin and San Diego studios were are also said to have been hit hard, with half of each’s employees laid off.

Duke Nukem creator George Broussard brought the rumour to public attention with a tweet, outing an industry rumour that the Seattle studio was at death’s door.

The publisher’s current line up includes Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms and DC Universe Online, but rose to MMORPG prominence in late 1999 with Everquest.

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38 Comments

  1. Stardog

    Your twitter link generator has been broken all day…

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Razor

    What is the point of Sony Online Entertainment?

    I don’t get it.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Zana

    Make… online… games…

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Razor

    Thanks Zana…you wanna try that again without the sarcasm?

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Grimrita

    The develop MMO games with Everquest being their most successful, destroying Star Wars Galaxies and are working on The Agency, which has kinda gone off the radar of late.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Blerk

    Ouch, that can’t be good. Best of luck to the recently departed.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. viralshag

    SOE also kinda killed The Matrix Online from what I remember. It might have been crap before but that was my first MMO so I always have fond memories of jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. StolenGlory

    @7 Me too :)

    #8 4 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @ StolenGlory, I will always think that game died before its time. It was a pretty awesome game. Obviously, looks like crap now :P but the class system of guns/dual guns/hacking/martial arts or a combo was awesome.

    RIP Matrix Online :D

    Quite a bit like Rift’s class system now. (Rift is also awesome :))

    #9 4 years ago
  10. DeathJynx

    Damn, sure hope this stays a rumor. The Tuscon headquaters is about an hour away and I was hoping to get an intro spot there… oh well, on to the THQ office (sigh)

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Erthazus

    SOE is shit right now.

    They made really great games in the past. Now they are doing something absolutely wrong. Sup bar DC Universe Online, The Agency is somewhere else…

    SW:galaxy was a big financial boom for them + Matrix Online. Everquest 2 was not that successful as they wanted it to be.

    Sony really need to do something with SOE because it’s now a huge financial risk for Sony.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. DeathJynx

    I wouldn’t say huge financial risk. But definitely a risk that is going no where fast.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Hunam

    I was quite looking forward to The Agency :(

    But also, it’s looking more and more like DC Universe becoming the next WAR, as in, decent launch, massive drop off followed by over a year of almost no patches and content.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. viralshag

    DCUO had such great potential but I just didn’t like the choices for the character creation in terms of class/spec/roles. Not to mention that it was buggy as hell.

    I really enjoyed it for about a week but I had no interest to re-sub. It was a shame as it’s such a good brand/franchise behind it. They just didn’t do enough for me.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. blackdreamhunk

    I told the game devs my thoughts on dc online not good for a mmo in beta. However I just trashed on by fan-boys now the game is dying. My words always come to pass. frankly I feel the game devs did not know what they were doing. They don’t under stand gamers or mmo’s.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Christopher Jack

    @15, I’ve never met someone as up them self as as you. Why would ANYONE take your word over another random person’s?

    #16 4 years ago
  17. blackdreamhunk

    #16

    they are out of a job now aren’t they, I am real sure they have alot people playing dc online.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. DeathJynx

    @17 im sure none of the DCUO people got canned. And they knew plenty about mmo’s. They had ex WoW staffers, and it shows, as well as some of the team behind everquest. They just wanted to do it different.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. blackdreamhunk

    @18

    really how come the game lacks immersion with a lot of many other things. DC on-line is a move backwards for the genre. More like poor man’s champions on line.

    Lets compare the game play to champions online,guild wars 2 and kotor.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. DeathJynx

    @19 Hey man, im not defending the game. Just defibbing your claim is all. They had lots of guys who knew the mechanics of good mmos. Maybe they spent all their budget on licensing and couldn’t do what they wanted… I don’t know. I agree the game is subpar, far from a 15$ a month premium. I hate the loot system and how you can customize the appearance so freely. I have always been more partial to the kinda of games where if you where knowledgeable, you could guess what opponents or team mates where wearing based on appearance. And instead of lying, using the fact that they did know what they were doing, should be used to strengthen your complaint about how the game sucks. That way they have no excuses.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. blackdreamhunk

    #20

    I gave them a detail list of problems on their forums, oh one major part is they creativity.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. lexph3re

    @21 I didn’t see anything wrong with dc. Univers but the asking price. I feel they would see more value in their merchandise if they would sell the retail disc at 20-30 with 1 month then it would justify a purchase. I don’t think the digital version should’ve been 60 either. Their just selling the game all wrong in my opinion. Other then that I felt the game was extremely fun and I was completely into the game when I was in the beta.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. onlineatron

    Oh drat… I’ve been looking forward to The Agency for years now :(

    They should have focussed on it rather than the licensed shit-show that was DCU.

    EDIT: And good luck to all those recently unemployed!

    #23 4 years ago
  24. DeathJynx

    What a heartbreaker… turns out the rumor was true. Well makes my life harder… lol.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Erthazus

    @onlineatron, to be honest, they should debunk DCUO and agency all together from the start and focus on the old ip’s like Everquest or Planetside.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. Hunam

    The Agency was doomed every since the two leads walked out.

    Although, I guess now The Secret World will become the lead ‘action’ MMO on the market with Agency gone and DC Universe seemingly gasping for air making the competition much less appealing.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. onlineatron

    Have we heard anything from Planetside Next recently?

    Wasn’t it meant to be announced soon?

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Erthazus

    @27, Planetside Next and Everquest Next is in development. Stay tuned.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. OlderGamer

    @22

    I agree w/ya Lex. Imo very few games are worth 60usd upfront and 15/month there after.

    DCU looks like fun to me, but not worth the high end monthly. If it were 5usd/month I would own it on PS3 and play it. I only played PSU briefly too, also due to the 15/month tag.

    I have played EQ, WoW and now Rift, all running me 15?month. But those games hold their value. I do not have words for how refreshing and fun Rift feels to me.

    Someone should bring a Guild Wars 2 style MMO to consoles.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. railbird13

    bah, I’m not an MMO player, but they had my interest with The Agency

    #30 4 years ago
  31. LOLshock94

    this the game rockstar are making?

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Phoenixblight

    @31

    No that would be Agent. Not the Agency or The Agent just Agent.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. IL DUCE

    What they should do with their next MMO is make an Everquest for PS3 and PC, and expand your audience and it will definitely be successfully, as a console gamer, I would be down with that…or another Star Wars Galaxies but with The Old Republic that hardly seems sensible right now…

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Ireland Michael

    Played The Agency at SOE’s closed booth at E3 last year.

    You guys aren’t missing much.

    The concept far outweighted the execution.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. Gadzooks!

    I was pretty sure right from the off that The Agency would never see the light of day. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for them to can it.

    DCUO however, has been pretty succesful I think. I know lots of people that play it a lot and really enjoy it. If it were on the 360 I’d certainly be playing it.

    #35 4 years ago
  36. blackdreamhunk

    @35 from what I hear there was a huge population drop after the first month.

    #36 4 years ago
  37. Hunam

    @36 I can confirm this on the PC as I went back to it out of boredom and it’s a ghost town. Can’t say about the PS3 version though.

    #37 4 years ago
  38. TheWulf

    This is hardly surprising with the incredible flop that DC Universe Online was, which must have cost them a lot of money, and is definitely not the best to have come out of their company. The servers are very much dead at the moment as more and more people realise that they can get a better experience for free with Champions Online.

    Really, I’m just very much not surprised at this. They weren’t prepared to tackle the big boys of this arena, and they’ve fallen behind even Paragon Studios (the current City of Heroes/Villains developer) in regards to profit margins and subscriber numbers, let alone matching the meaty profits that are keeping Cryptic quite happily afloat.

    In fact, the free to play thing has done great things for Cryptic’s revenue, as they revealed recently, it’s been a massive success and more and more people are playing the game all the time. How it’s not succumbing to lag I’ll never know. But until Guild Wars 2 comes along, Champions Online is the best MMORPG out there right now, bar none.

    SOE just didn’t stand a chance. And these layoffs are just evidence of their absolute failure, really.

    (Of course, the most entertaining thing was that there were actually some people defending DC Universe Online as the better game, even here. I won’t name names, but I can’t help but scoff in their general direction. I tend to be right about these things.)

    #38 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Sony Japan has accidentally erased all information obtained from PlayStation owners who entered to win a 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4. Those who purchased PlayStation 3, PS4, Vita or Vita TV between December 4 – January 15 were handed a calendar with a code which entered them into the contest. Somehow, all data collected from the […]

  • Hearthstone datamine suggests Blackrock Mountain expansion on the way

    Hearthstone’s next update may be based on World of Warcraft’s Molten Core raid, if datamined information posted on Hearthpwn is spot-on. According to files mined from the latest patch, three new cosmetic card backs are on the way, one of which is called Molten Core. The data suggests that pre-ordering the Blackrock Mountain expansion will […]

  • Using Battlefield Hardline single-player gadgets increases your metagame rewards

    Gadgets contained in Battlefield Hardline’s campaign mode have been detailed, and each provides the player with various ways in which to solve crimes. According to design director Scott Warner, one way to “diffuse” a conflict when confronted with criminal activity is to flash your badge and ordering the criminal to freeze. Putting your gun on […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video is all about story mode, new characters

    After promising a new Mortal Kombat X reveal “soon”, NetherRealm Studios has made good on said promise by releasing the story trailer. The video shows parts of the story mode featuring Mileena, which takes place 25 years after the events of 2011′s Mortal Kombat. Outworld has become a larger threat and new fighters joining the […]

  • Destiny’s shotgun and pulse rifle buffs mean it’s time to rethink your load-out

    Destiny’s most-ignored weapons got major boosts this week. It’s time to start thinking about how to work them into your set-up. Even if you’re used to using scout rifles and sniper rifles as a general loud-out (neither class was touched by 1.1.1), the buffs to pulse rifles and shotguns should make you rethink your contextual […]

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2: five years later, what did it do so right?

    It’s been five years since the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2. What did the much-loved entry in the franchise do for the Battlefield series? Westie’s played Battlefield Bad Company 2 for over 1,260 hours on PS3 and PC. That’s dedication. In his latest video he discusses the stand out moments from a FPS classic, […]

  • War is hell in this Zombie Army Trilogy gameplay trailer

    Here’s five minutes of headshots, shambling zombies and an undead Hitler from Rebellion’s upcoming Zombie Army Trilogy. The Sniper Elite spin-off arrives on PS4, PC and Xbox One March 6 and includes three games (obviously) and a new Horde mode.

  • Titan Souls releases on PS4, Vita, PC on April 14

    Ace indie giant-slayer Titan Souls will be released on PS4, Vita and PC on April 14. Publisher Devolver confirmed the date to Eurogamer. Those of us in Europe will have to wait until a day later for release. Titan Souls is a tough-as-nails indie game where you have one life to slay a giant enemy. […]

  • Destiny weekly update: lowdown on Inferno Crucible, Vault Transfer improvements

    Destiny’s weekly update has made some pretty significant changes – let Arekkz Gaming take you through them. Bungie has revealed the first release date for the new Inferno Crucible mode, and made it a lot easier to access your vault. You should subscribe to Arekkz Gaming. It will improve your life.

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory Feb 27, 28

    It’s Xursday again – what treats does he have for you this week? He’s in the North Tower, to the right of the Stranger’s room. Let’s take a look at the latest weapons and gear from your favourite Destiny trader. No Backup Plans [Titan Gauntlets] – 13SC ATS/8 Arachnid [Hunter Helmet] – 13SC Heart of […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will be stable on PC at launch, Visceral assures

    PC format is “by far the best gaming platform around,” says Hardline producer. “We’re doing what we can to take advantage of people’s different system with the graphics, framerate, controls, etc. We’re not just porting it over.” Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral is reassuring players that there will not be a repeat of the disastrous Battlefield […]

  • Win Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One

    We have 10 download codes for new indie puzzler Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One to give away. The be in with a chance of winning a code, just enter your details below and we’ll pull the winners from the hat on Monday March 2nd, after 2pm GMT. Pneuma: Breath of Life is a […]

  • Life is Strange Episode 2 delayed

    Life is Strange Episode 2 won’t make its expected release date. The first Life is Strange episode released on January 30, and we had expected the second to follow on March 13. Square Enix has since confirmed to Destructoid that the next chapter won’t make its release date. There’s been no word of the new […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: which character will be revealed tomorrow?

    Mortal Kombat X director Ed Boon is teasing a new character reveal. During today’s Mortal Kombat X livestream, NetherRealm said that a new character would be revealed “very soon”. Boon followed up with this teasing tweet suggesting the reveal will occur tomorrow: Very soon? As in tomorrow? :/ — Ed Boon (@noobde) February 26, 2015 […]

  • Halo played by Twitch is an exercise in great patience

    TwitchPlaysHalo is ridiculous. Halo: Combat Evolved is the latest game to be sucked into the “TwitchPlays” phenomenon, and the results are somewhat painful to spectate. If you’re not familiar with the setup, which debuted with TwitchPlaysPokemon, the game accepts commands from the channels’ chat stream. Although it doesn’t have the strategic RPG elements of Pokemon, […]

  • Gold Amiibo sold out, selling at five times RRP on auction sites

    Gold Mario Amiibo are expected to sell for pretty astounding profits on eBay and other auction sites. The Walmart-exclusive Gold Mario Amiibo is already completely sold out. Plenty of people managed to snaffle them to resell, though. There are now dozens of listings on eBay and other auction sites. One of the average asking prices […]

  • Canadian new game prices jump to $75

    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]