Bigpoint has announced the departure of CEO Heiko Hubertz and the cutting of 120 jobs at the online gaming company, and the firm has announced it will no longer develop games in the US.
Bigpoint laid-off 80 people at its Hamburg office – mostly in administrative departments – and 40 at its San Francisco location.
“We have seen that developing games in the US is not really the most efficient way for us at the moment,” Hubertz told GI International. “The games that we have developed in the last two years haven’t been that successful, and the San Francisco area and Bay Area is quite a competitive market.
“San Francisco is, after New York, one of the most expensive cities you can live in in the US, so the people are quite expensive.”
The San Francisco office was opened in 2010 for business development, marketing and PR, and was to be overseen by Hubertz.
“We need space for other investments in other areas. We’ve doubled our revenues almost every year, and we had a budget for this year of what we wanted in terms of revenue. Unfortunately we haven’t had the strong growth we hoped, but we had hired for this growth,” Hubertz continued. “To get a slice of the [online] market is much harder today, to get a bigger market share.
“To do that you have to be focused more and more on the business, and very careful with your investments. For that reason we’re doing exactly what we are today to optimise our cost structure and to have the opportunity to invest in the right areas.”
Hubertz will take on the role of executive chairman of the company’s supervisory board at the end of the year. His replacement will be announced at that time.
“For me it’s very important, and there are private reasons,” he said. “I wanted to leave the company after ten years of very strong growth, very exciting times, launching many products in many countries – it was really tough times and I’m a little bit exhausted. I want to relax a little bit, travel the world and think about starting a family.”
Hubertz said the redundancies had nothing to do with his leaving the company, as he tried to step down a year and a half ago, but his replacement didn’t work out.