Are we really safe from recession?

Recent developments, from the paring down of local offices for some publishers to consolidation at a higher level, have proven otherwise.

We speculated a few weeks ago that studio cutbacks at EA and THQ could just be those companies’ own realignments. But with developers across the world chopping staff numbers – usually the first indication of belt-tightening – talk of ‘new strategies’ (fancy talk for ‘a shorter payroll’) suggests that signs aren’t good.

Indeed, we might be heading for a bumper Q4, but it’s what happens in Q1 and Q2 2009 that will have to prove the games industry’s might. And currently, no matter how big or small the flutter you might be having on the Christmas No. 1 game, all other bets are probably off.

On a related theme, the collapse of the
Woolworths business, and it’s potential bargain bin 1 sell-off, is undoubtedly bad news for the health of the High Street.

Of course, EUK’s bid to go it alone will actually be good news for publishers, given that a huge chunk of the games market’s buying force remains intact.
But let’s not forget that this still means question marks remain over the jobs of the 30,000 staff at Woolies stores and its HQ.

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