Has PopCap been hit with layoffs? [Update: Layoffs confirmed by Popcap]

Update: In a post on PopCap’s official blog, company co-founder John Vechey confirmed that the EA-owned studio is undergoing both a “Reduction in Force” at their Seattle studio, and an “Exploratory Consultation” at PopCap’s Dublin HQ. In short? The former – as Vechey put it frankly and openly – means that “some people will lose their jobs.” The latter refers to an intermediary process in which PopCap will be “talking to our Dublin team about the future of that office and whether we can find a path to improve our profitability in Europe without having to close the operation.”

It’s always sad to hear about studio closures, layoffs, or industry downsizing, especially at companies whose output is so consistently high quality. With that said, a thorough read of the rest of the post reveals a co-founder with integrity and honesty, whose address of the public cuts to the heart of unfortunate circumstances like this. 

“In the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way people play and pay for games,” writes Vechey. “Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity. That happened fast. Surprisingly so. The change in consumer tastes requires us to reorganize our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms. It’s a completely different world from when we started.”

Despite that fact, however, Vechey insists the company will be looking to burgeoning markets like Japan and China, staying ahead of the curve on new ideas, and – through it all – “continuing to lovingly craft the very best and most broadly appealing video games in the world.” For our part, we wish them all the best, and send our sincere condolences to those whose jobs were cut as a result of this restructuring. 

Say it ain’t so, PopCap.  The casual games giant behind notable franchises like Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants vs Zombies may be gearing up for some layoffs in the near future – or so says the rumor mill on the internet.

The talk surrounding PopCap’s unexpected changes stems from a pretty surprising source – the Twitter account of George Broussard, better known as one of the brains behind the Duke Nukem series.   ‘Sources say shakeup and layoffs are imminent at PopCap,” tweeted Broussard.  When later asked which sources, he simply replied “Mine.”

Broussard’s tweet, however, was enough to get some other people talking as well.  An unidentified source “familiar with the matter” told VG247 that PopCap had been quietly laying off employees for months.  And Broussard later followed up with two more tweets that seem to spell doom for many of PopCap’s employees; “Looks like PopCap layoffs have happened :(” and “PopCap Dublin/Shanghai shut down/shrunk. 50ish people in Seattle laid off. Brutal.”

All of this is coming hot on the heels of PopCap announcing a Plants vs Zombies sequel – a strange time for layoffs to occur to say the least.  There’s no official word from PopCap or EA on the matter (asides from “we don’t comment on rumors”), but if Broussard’s tweets are to be believed, this seems to be the real deal.

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