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.