It’s no mystery that multiple studios within Sony Computer Entertainment have undergone a thinning process lately, with multiple rounds of layoffs, and hiring has slowed down as well, with very few development-related career opportunity ads posted on SCEA’s and SCEE’s website.
Yet, it looks like Sony Computer Entertainment of America is now at the beginning of the upwards phase of the recruiting cycle again, and the company posted two new career opportunity ads seeking a recruiter and a recruiting coordinator.
Within the duties listed there is, of course, “Developing and administering staffing/employment/recruiting programs,” and it’s very interesting for two positions of this kind to be staffed at the same time, probably meaning that Sony either wants to restructure or expand its recruiting department.
Incidentally, industry insider Pete Dodd, that is known to have some quite solid sources at Sony, posted a very insightful piece on NeoGAF explaining what may have happened in the past few weeks at Sony’s WorldWide Studios, mentioning that people are connecting dots that don’t need to be connected. Be warned that the language is a little strong, but the post is meant for a forum, after all:
Connecting dots where they don’t need to be connected.
Stig and his team spent almost 100 million dollars on a game that failed every QA test that took. The game sucked. They shitcanned the game and a lot of the people involved. They offered Stig a spot on barlog’s project – he didn’t want to go from game director to something lesser so he quit.
This makes sense, right? Shitty game, money wasted, people fired, head guy leaves out of ego? I mean that all makes sense.
Amy Hennig has creative differences about the direction that UC4 should go in. Egos swell, she leaves. She’s happy, she will make another studio much better when she gets there. Justin Richmond, an ally of Hennig’s, gets an offer he can’t refuse from Riot. He leaves.
These things happen. Naughty Dog is going to be fine. UC4 will still be awesome. Riot will be better with the pickup of Richmond and whoever gets Hennig will be better off. The sky isn’t falling.
Guerilla Cambridge is working on a vita game that is shit and won’t sell. They slim down as they retool for another project.
Again – this isn’t new. This happens a lot.
The director of Driveclub doesn’t deliver the game on time. Given more time the game still needs work. He is replaced.
Wouldn’t you replace him? Wouldn’t you shitcan stig’s project that cost them almost 100 mil and had nothing of value to show for it? In fact they should have done it two years ago. The fact they let it go this far is a testament to how much they believed in him after GoW 3.
And all of this is happening before the fiscal year ends. Is sony trimming fat? Of course. Sony corporation is not in a great spot. So they are tightening up a bit. But a lot of people are connecting dots that don’t need to be connected. Hennig/Richmond is about creative differences and ego. Stig is about wasted money and time. Col Rogers (driveclub) is about failing to deliver. Taken on their own they all make sense. Combine them together and you get glenn beck with a chalkboard.
And Jack Tretton was about money and inability to move up. He will make more money and have more power somewhere else – something Sony simply could not offer him. Shit happens.
It’s the same with the xbox department guys. People move around. People leave for other companies. Shit happens.
Dodd also offered further clarity on Stig Asmussen’s canceled project at Sony Santa Monica:
I heard various numbers between 75mil and 90 mil for Stig’s game. I said “almost 100″ because, well, both are almost 100 mil. They restarted the game, from scratch, THREE TIMES! And it sucked every time. The whole “it was too much like destiny” thing is bullshit. It was more horror-ish and like Dead Space than Destiny. That whole thing was sony jumping on the grenade to help Stig save face. And help themselves save face as they wasted a fucking TON of money.
They started concept on it before GoW 3 shipped. Once GoW 3 shipped the moved to Darkside. They didn’t have online or DLC or shit like that to worry about. They jumped right into the next project.
The game initially was supposed to be out this year. It’s been clear for a couple years now that wasn’t gonna happen… but it does explain the giant hole in their fall lineup. Thankfully for them… Driveclub will be there to attempt to fill it, a bit.
He also offered more insight on the whole picture:
There are reasons why Sony lost a lot of money during the PS3 years. They are trying not to repeat that.
People losing jobs sucks. I feel for the SSM guys and everyone else. But Sony needs to run a tighter ship if they want to make money. They can’t allow teams to piss around for years with nothing to show. That’s why they completely restructured Japan Studio. Those guys had dozens of games that were going nowhere. It’s why they shuttered Zipper. MAG, while amazing – imo, was an expensive failure. Socom 4 was an expensive failure. They closed them down.
Now they are tightening up on teams that aren’t delivering. It sucks – but it makes sense. The playstation division is in strong state right now. The PS3 is finally making money for them, the PS4 is off to best start in console history, and they are correcting the money-wasting mistakes of the prior generation. I’m not saying we should have a party now – there are clearly hurdles to overcome. Stig’s game being gone created a giant hole in their lineup. The driveclub delay is the cause of enormous worry for many PS4 fans. The timing of these things has tinfoil hats flying everywhere. Sony corporate has very big problems it needs to handle. Shit isn’t all rosy at sony – i’m not trying to say that. But it’s not doom and gloom either. These are all separate events that happened for very logical reasons when you look at them individually.
Another industry insider, Ahsan Rasheed, also added his take on what’s happening at SCEE on Twitter.
What I can say is- Europe is having a reset button pushed and the entire spectrum from top to bottom is being reshuffled for efficiency.
The London Studio is known mostly for Singstar and various casual things, so I imagine things aren’t too surprising on that front.
On the other hand, NeoGAF user DemonNite, who is known to work at Sony, also mentioned that he isn’t worried.
Things change indeed. I’m not worried either and see things from the inside.
While we should always take what is said by insiders with the proverbial grain of salt, the job opportunities posted today offer further solidity to Dodd’s post, as it’s quite evident that Sony Computer Entertainment is simply taking part in the natural cycle of layoffs and hiring.
It’s always disheartening to see people leave or lose their jobs, but as Dodd says “people move around,” and it happens in every industry. Other industries simply don’t have hungry press hounding companies in order to create stories that often are made bigger than what they are.