The numbers are humbling: Three studios (of five) terminated, 205 jobs simply gone. That's the damage--substantial by any measure--at Sony Online Entertainment, Sony's flagship online games development brand.
SOE confirmed the numbers in a statement after rumors swirled yesterday of studio dismantling and employee layoffs.
Calling it a "strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce," SOE said it would "eliminate 205 positions" and shutter studios located in Denver, Seattle, and Tucson. It also said "[a]ll possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern."
Left standing: San Diego (EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, PlanetSide, Free Realms) and Austin (Star Wars Galaxies, DC Universe Online).
SOE Seattle's closure cuts short development of online spy shooter The Agency and leaves the property in limbo--Sony launched a Facebook tie-in game The Agency: Covert Ops in May 2010. The company says remaining design staff will be redirected to support its older PlanetSide and EverQuest brands.
Lest you worry, SOE claims its decision won't impact current live-games like Free Realms, Star Wars The Clone Wars Adventures: Card Commander, and Magic The Gathering. The company says it'll shift Denver and Tucson studio projects to its San Diego headquarters.