Jam City, the publisher of Jurassic World Alive and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, fired 17% of staff on Thursday, according to the New York Times. The company, which has offices across the United States and Canada, purchased Ludia, which is well-known for creating original and licensed games, in 2021.
On Thursday, about 200 people were laid off between Jam City and Ludia, according to Polygon. They spoke with ten affected Ludia workers and three current employees. Multiple previous Ludia employees said they were either on leave or vacation when they were laid off, first from other coworkers, and then discovering they had lost access to associated accounts.
According to a transcript of the call obtained by Polygon, Ludia workers who were not laid off were notified first at a large meeting, where employees were instructed not to inform others. Later, human resources began pulling the affected individuals into separate meetings. At least one worker told Polygon they began losing access to their various work accounts while they were still waiting for their scheduled meeting time. Other irritated employees began questioning the layoffs in public Slack rooms.
The majority of employees said they were surprised by the layoffs, noting they had been promised before that it would not happen again, and that the acquisition of Jam City would allow Ludia to continue to operate as it has done previously. Over the years, they have shown tremendous maturity in this area. We feel excluded.
According to VentureBeat, Jam City paid $165 million for Ludia in September 2021, after securing $350 million in funding from South Korean gaming company Netmarble, developer of Marvel Realm of Champions, and others. Thursday's layoff, however, is the largest of all.
A spokesperson for Jam City told Polygon that the decision was made in response to the challenging world economy and its impact on the gaming industry.
Jam City has made the difficult decision to reduce the number of employees on its current payroll by about 17 percent in light of the challenging global economy and its impact on the gaming industry. We believe that in the present operating environment, this is a necessary move to strengthen Jam City's financial flexibility and operational efficiencies, better positioning Jam City for long-term growth.
Jam City sent back severance payments to employees who were laid off last year, according to the authors, which they said increased their value as employees grew. Care packages for those who were laid off also would be extended to those who have lost their jobs, according to the cofounders.
While we have strengthened our business and games offering with fantastic teams and titles like Disney Emoji Blitz, Bingo Pop, and Jurassic World Alive, we have also absorbed a number of redundant roles throughout the company.
Jam City's upcoming mobile game HGTV My Design, which had been in development for over three years, has also been canceled.
Jam City was founded in 2010 by MySpace cofounders DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro, and Yguado, who currently lead 20th Century Fox. It will be called Champions Ascension in a white paper in May. The 7,622 players who have been laid off have speculated that Jam City's all-in approach to blockchain gaming may have influenced the layoffs.
Ludia, which was founded in 2007, started by promoting licensed games such as The Price Is Right and other game show brands, and expanded into other games such as The Bachelor: The Videogame and Jurassic World Alive.
Jam City stated that it would purchase Ludia and go public through a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) in May 2021. According to Venture Beat, the transaction was valued at $1.2 billion. However, Jam City canceled the purchase months later in July 2021 due to current market conditions. Ludia was purchased in September 2021, but the merged company did not go public.
One worker said that the problem with a lot of game development is that we have so much nondisclosure. It's difficult for these things to get out without feeling like you're at danger. If you're able to make a statement about these kinds of layoffs, it will go under the radar. In a city like Montreal, where there are so many studios, it can be devastating.
Update (Aug. 5): This story has been updated to include additional information and a new email from Jam City co-founders Chris DeWolfe and Joshua Yguado.