Casual games company PopCap has cut its staff numbers in the US, and is assessing the future of its Irish operation, noting that there has been a change in customer tastes that “requires us to reorganise our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms”.
In a blog post, John Vechey, co-founder of the company, said that in the past year, it has seen a “dramatic change” in the way that customers play and pay for games, noting: “Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity. That happened fast. Surprisingly so.”
PopCap is cutting some 50 positions in North America (Reuters said it had a global workforce of 600), and the company said it is in talks with its staff in Dublin “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”.
Vechey said: “To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency and maintain a profit. We’ve been able to invest in creative new games like Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies because we had a high profit business. That business is challenged, and if we don’t adapt, we won’t be able to invest in new IP.”
He continued that the decision was not forced on PopCap by EA, the games giant which acquired it last year. “The decision to reorganise was 100 percent made by us, with no pressure from EA. EA has a diverse business with games on consoles, PCs and practically every other platform under the sun. We’re glad to have those resources supporting us when a lot of other independent studios are struggling.”