Goodgame Studios, the company behind free-to-play titles such as Goodgame Empire and Big Farm, has confirmed it will be restructuring its business, resulting in the lay-off of around 200 employees across all its corporate departments.
Rumblings of the job losses began yesterday when an anonymous email was sent to Gamasutra stating that approximately 200 employees would be let go later today. The email contained a statement from studio founder Kai Wawrzinek, saying the cuts were being put in place to help the company remain competitive in the increasingly challenging free-to-play space.
The Hamburg-based studio has now confirmed the news in an official press release on its website, stating that the restructure will "speed up" its focus on its core business. CEO Maximillian Schneider will also leave the company by the end of February, and company founders Kai and Christian Wawrzinek will return to the top of the company as CEO and CSO respectively.
"The market for free-to-play games is under high and constantly increasing competitive pressure," the company wrote on its website. "It has also proven difficult for other market players across the industry in Germany. The industry is fighting for market shares with rapidly increasing marketing budgets, the success of new games is increasingly difficult to predict. At the same time, new developments could not achieve the desired successes yet.
"Facing these challenges, the management team and founders have initiated an adaption of the company’s capacities and structure. Along with this, Goodgame Studios will downsize its management team and cut about 200 jobs in all corporate departments. The employees were informed of this."
As for the affected employees, Goodgames Studios states they will be able to choose between a compensation model, which is varied according to the duration of their employment, or a supplementary payment to their unemployment benefits.
Wawrzinek added: “The decision we took last summer, to concentrate more on our core brands – Goodgame Empire / Empire: Four Kingdoms and Big Farm – and to place our customers at the heart of our activities, is still the right thing to do. Moreover, we will invest some million euros in our HTML5 strategy and see further chances for growth there. With shorter decision-making processes, our new, clear focus and investments in the HTML5 strategy, the foundation for the long term company success of Goodgame Studios is laid."
Goodgame Studios previously shed around 400 staff last summer. It also came under fire in 2015 when it allegedly fired 28 employees after they attempted to form a worker's council.