Sony to Close Game Maker Zipper; THQ Plans Layoffs

Zipper Interactive SOCOMSony’s Zipper Interactive and THQ units Vigil Games and Relic Entertainment have run into the wall of a changing game market. The results aren’t pretty.

After an 18-year run, Sony is shuttering Zipper, known for its bestselling SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs franchise, which has sold over 12 million units. It’s unclear whether any of the company’s 80 employees will be transferred to other Sony units. The company says Zipper titles MAG, SOCOM 4 and Unit 13 — including its new Daily Challenges — will continue to be supported.

Sony says the layoff is part of a broader downsizing of 205 employees in a normal cycle of resource re-alignment. It comes as Sony closes out its fiscal year; Analysts expect the company to lose approximately $2.9 billion.

THQ Troubles

Meantime, struggling THQ says it’s laying off 118 employees from Vigil Games and Relic Entertainment. The announcement comes along with word that Vigil’s multiplayer game, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, is being restructured into a single-player experience with multiplayer elements.

Vigil will cut 79 people from its 180-person team. Another 39 layoffs will come from Relic. Relic is said to have been working on Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III. That means the downsizing will be tricky, since complex game development usually involves ramping up teams, not shrinking them.

Sony and THQ aren’t the only game companies letting people go. Electronic Arts is reportedly going to layoff between 500 and 1,000 people soon.

Image: Zipper Interactive

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