More information has come to light about the closure of ZeniMax Online Studios’ customer services branch in Galway.
Last week, we reported that the office had been all but shut down with 300 jobs cut and only a handful of staff retained.
Now a former Bethesda employee, speaking to Develop on condition of anonymity, has clarified the issue, confirming the closure and revealing the full extent of the layoffs.
The Galway office launched in 2014 with over 600 people, although many of the temporary hires were dismissed as things began to settle down. A few were retained as full-time employees.
It was initially set up to support all languages – including English – for The Elder Scrolls Online, while a sister site in the US would only handle English customer service. The Galway branch also included teams that extended beyond just customer service into areas such as publishing.
Over the summer of 2014, the branch’s customer service group began to handle multiple titles handled by ZeniMax Online’s sister company Bethesda Softworks, including The Evil Within and Wolfenstein, as well as legacy titles.
However, when The Elder Scrolls Online “underperformed and didn’t meet the estimated expectations”, the decision was made to begin reducing the workforce.
Entire departments were closed down and large numbers of employees were laid off, our source tells us, but by the beginning of 2015 it was clear that even more jobs would be cut.
However, our source said that the bulk of customer service was still being handled out of Galway, with the number of agents based in Ireland nearly double that of the US office.
Layoffs were made gradually, and by September 2015 it was decided the Galway branch would be closed. An outsourcing partner in India was found to handle all languages except English, while English support was run through the US – meaning European, English-speaking customers would only receive help during US working hours.
At the start of 2015, the office was home to 300 employees, with less than ten now remaining. The last people on site belong to the localisation department, or have administration roles such as IT or site management.
“At the start in 2014, we were told that money was not an issue,” our source told us. “When the numbers weren’t looking good, the cuts were made.”