ArenaNet is laying off an undetermined number of employees on the orders of NCSoft.
I actually don’t have much to say about this, but I felt like it was big enough news to warrant a blog post to mark the occasion. To be perfectly blunt, I’m so numb to the game industry right now that this barely elicited a mild shrug. It’s a weekday, so of course another major MMO studio is suffering losses. Reminder to all the kids out there: Don’t work in the game industry, unless maybe you’re the one running the company.
I feel like I’ve already finished grieving for the terminal patient known as innovative big-budget MMORPGs, and I’m well into the acceptance phase. If there’s a good day or two here or there with an existing MMORPG, I chalk it up as a bonus gift. Otherwise we’re just running out the clock here until the next boom cycle begins. (Or maybe games like Destiny and Anthem *are* the next cycle, which is fine I guess, just not terribly exciting for me personally because I generally like more than eye candy in my games.)
It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to figure out that the game industry in general lives on a giant bubble that bursts regularly. MMOs in particular are very expensive to make and operate. There’s even a growing industry built on creating middleware for MMOs. (See: SpatialOS.) On any given day, any of our favorites could disappear if there’s even a minor slump in revenue. Even the mighty juggernaut World of Warcraft suddenly looks vulnerable now. It’s why so many studios sell those things in cash shops that we all complain about. It’s not greed, it’s just a desperate attempt to stay in business another few months. Basically, if you care about your game world’s longevity, you should be paying-to-win as much as possible.
As for ArenaNet, I don’t think I ever really said this in so many words, because of the inevitable backlash it would cause, but ArenaNet as a company has been dead to me since last year. I won’t buy any future expansions or games or anything from them. So I’m inclined to say “congratulations” to the people losing their jobs. You’ve escaped that employment nightmare, that subservient doormat to Reddit troll brigades, and can now start to improve your lives.
All of the above sounds like the kind of thing that kids would pretend to rage about in a YouTube video to get controversy views, and it feels really boring to write, but it’s pretty much how I feel at this moment. Admittedly I’m having a bad back day, so I’m a little grumpy.
Actually there’s one good spin I can think of here: With ArenaNet axing those two secret projects that apparently took up most of their resources, they might refocus their attention on the game that people are actually playing, instead of letting it coast. I’ve been seeing a fair amount of grumbling from GW2 fans lately. This *could* actually be good news for them, despite how dire it sounds.
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