As part of a “workforce reduction”, GameStop has laid off more than 120 people, including almost half the editorial team employed at its subsidiary magazine, Game Informer. The cuts affect staff working at the company’s corporate headquarters in Grapevine, Texas and Game Informer’s HQ in Minnesota, and equate to almost 14 per cent of its global workforce.
“As part of the previously announced GameStop Reboot initiative to transform our business for the future and improve our financial performance, we can confirm a workforce reduction was implemented impacting more than 120 corporate staff positions, representing approximately 14% of our total associate base at our company headquarters as well as at some other offices,” a GameStop spokesperson told Kotaku in a statement.
“While these changes are difficult, they were necessary to reduce costs and better align the organization with our efforts to optimize the business to meet our future objectives and success factors. We recognize that this is a difficult day for our company and particularly for those associates impacted. We appreciate their dedication and service to GameStop and are committed to supporting them during this time of transition.”
It’s currently unclear how many staff were affected at the magazine, but Game Informer’s managing editor Matt Bertz, associate editor Elise Favis, senior associate editor Kyle Hilliard, west coast news editor Imran Khan, and associate editor Suriel Vazquez have all shared the news via their personal Twitter accounts. Senior associate editor Jeff Marchiafava was on leave when he too was notified.
Khan further revealed staff affected by the cuts have reportedly had their insurance cut off instantly.
“I am trying to get things right with my people,” editor-in-chief Andy McNamara explained on Twitter. “I love Game Informer, its people and its readers more than any corporation could, and I will address all the issues when I can, but for now I need to focus on my GI family.”
US games retailer GameStop has had a difficult few years, culminating in a potential buyout thought to complete and go public by the middle of February 2019 eventually falling through. The company’s troubles are the usual, much discussed, issues facing many high street retailers, such as the shift to digital stores, competition from online retailers – Amazon in particular – and now an increasing move to subscription services from the big publishers and platform holders. A source close to GameStop reported that at least two companies – thought to be Sycamore Partners and Apollo Global Management – were interested in buying GameStop, but news of the pullout sent share prices tumbling.
The news came less than a year after long-standing CEO Paul Raines died in March 2018, after which GameStop CEO Michael Mauler quit the post “for personal reasons” after just three months in the role. Shane Kim, former GM of Microsoft Game Studios (as it was then called) – and seven-year board member of GameStop – is the current CEO.
Last October two UK magazines were also shuttered. GamesMaster and games™ had long and storied histories, with the former dating back to 1993, and the latter running since 2002. Their closure leaves Future’s Edge magazine as the last, long-running proponent in the multi-format games space.