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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 will be ending service for Destiny of Spirits starting next month, Sony has announced. The free-to-play Destiny of Spirits was released in late March 2014 on Vita, and tasked players with collecting supernatural forces appropriate to their geographical location, and then trading them with others online. Gravity Rush spirits were added to the game […]

  • MotoGP 15 is out this spring on PC, last and current-gen consoles

    MotoGP 15 will be released in June on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Milestone has announced. Bike, rider and team customization are part of the latest release in the franchise, along with time-trials and enhanced career options. The game features over 20 bike models divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto 2 […]

  • Cities: Skylines players should check out Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises

    Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises can now be yours in Cities: Skylines. Die Hard fans will be familiar with Nakatomi Plaza. Those who have never watched the first film and live in Los Angeles know it by its real-life name, FOX Plaza. It was created by Enos Shenk and is available through Steamworks. Those who […]

  • Call of Duty franchise has sold 175M copies, players have thrown 300B grenades

    With the Call of Duty Championship kicking off tomorrow, Activision has sent over a series infographic full of interesting figures such as the number of copies sold over 10 years and how many grenades players have tossed. According to the stats below, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 175 million copies across all platforms […]

  • Save up to 75% on select SEGA games on Steam this weekend

    SEGA has put many of its games on sale through Steam this weekend and the firm has also announced Eastside Hockey Manager is now available through Early Access. The sale runs through March 30. The entire Total War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War back catalogs are discounted 75% and all associated DLC is […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC confirmed as digital download-only in UK

    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]