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Sony Lays Off 900 PlayStation Employees Worldwide, Shuts Down London Studio Entirely

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Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Another unfortunate round of layoffs in the games industry is happening, this time with Sony letting go of 900 PlayStation employees worldwide and even shutting down their London studio entirely.

According to a company-wide email sent by Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, the 900 employees affected account for 8 percent of their current workforce. All of SIE’s regions are affected by the layoffs, with the most notable being in the US and the UK.

“After careful consideration and many leadership discussions over several months, it has become clear changes need to be made to continue to grow the business and develop the company. We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the long-term sustainability of the company and delivering the best experiences possible for our community. The goal is to streamline our resources to ensure our continued success and ability to deliver experiences gamers and creators have come to expect from us.”

Herman Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios, wrote a follow-up post on the SIE website highlighting the affected studios. According to Hulst, Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, and the Technology, Creative, and Support teams in the US are affected; as for the UK and Europe, the London studio gets shut down entirely, along with reductions in the Guerilla and Firesprite staff. Additionally, various PlayStation Studios teams globally will also be affected.

It’s currently unknown how the other studios are affected by the layoffs; so far, it’s been reported that Guerilla Games is losing 10 percent of its workforce as a result of this move. The studio, which primarily works on the Horizon series, is reportedly set to lose 40 employees as reported by the Dutch newspaper AD.

The closure of the London Studio also means canceling several PSVR-related projects, along with an unannounced project based on a brand-new IP. The news stung the employees even harder after they held a party to celebrate Jim Ryan’s upcoming retirement just five days before the unfortunate news. See the tweet below by Izzy Foley, Associate Art Manager from the London studio:

Firesprite’s staff reduction also follows the cancellation of a live-service game based on the Twisted Metal franchise, as reported by Bloomberg. It remains to be seen what other projects are affected by Sony’s layoffs.

Hulst explained the decision.

Our goal at PlayStation Studios has always been to make the best games for PlayStation fans, and our global community of studios represent some of the most creative and talented teams within the gaming industry.

PlayStation 5 is in its fourth year, and we are at a stage where we need to step back and look at what our business needs.  

. . .

We looked at our studios and our portfolio, evaluating projects in various stages of development, and have decided that some of those projects will not move forward. 

I want to be clear that the decision to stop work on these projects is not a reflection on the talent or passion of team members.”

He also added, “Our philosophy has always been to allow creative experimentation. Sometimes, great ideas don’t become great games. Sometimes, a project is started with the best intentions before shifts within the market or industry result in a change of plan.

Written by
I started writing about video games in 2016, and haven't looked back since. It's been an amazing journey discovering new games and meeting the people behind them. Fueled by litres of tea and nightly legendary skirmishes on Halo Wars with my husband.

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