Jam City, the publisher of Jurassic World Alive and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, laid off 17% of its employees on Thursday. Ludia, a subsidiary of Jam City, has offices in the United States and Canada, has acquired Ludia, a company recognized for producing original and licensed games, in 2021.
On Thursday, around 200 people were laid off between Jam City and Ludia, according to Polygon. Ten affected Ludia workers and three current employees told Polygon they were either on leave or vacation when they were laid off, first discovering from other coworkers and then realizing they had no access to associated accounts.
According to a recording of the call obtained by Polygon, Ludia employees who were not laid off were first alerted at a large meeting, where employees were instructed not to tell others. Later, human resources began pulling the affected individuals into separate meetings. At least one worker told Polygon they were losing access to their different work accounts while they were still waiting for their scheduled meeting time. Other confused employees began questioned the layoffs in public Slack rooms.
The majority of employees said they were surprised by the layoffs, citing that they had been promised that it would not happen again and that the acquisition of Jam City would allow Ludia to continue to do what it already does. People are incredibly irritated, according to one current employee.
According to VentureBeat, Jam City paid $165 million for Ludia in September 2021 after receiving $350 million in investment from South Korean gaming company Netmarble, developer of Marvel Realm of Champions, and others. Thursday's layoff, however, is the largest of all.
Polygon was informed by a Jam City spokesperson that the decision was made in light of the changing global economy and its impact on the gaming sector.
Jam City has made the difficult decision to reduce the size of its staff by about 17 percent in light of the tough global economy and its impact on the gaming industry. We believe that in the current operating environment, this is a necessary step to improve Jam City's long-term growth potential.
Jam City sent workers severance packages that increased as a function of time they were employed by the company, according to the two cofounders. Additionally, the company would offer healthcare benefits to affected employees, according to Chris DeWolfe and Josh Yguado.
While we have strengthened our business and gaming offering with incredible teams and titles like Disney Emoji Blitz, Bingo Pop, and Jurassic World Alive, we have also absorbed a number of redundant roles across the company.
Jam City's upcoming mobile game HGTV My Design, which had been in development for over three years, has been canceled.
Jam City was founded in 2010 by MySpace cofounders DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro, and Yguado, who headed 20th Century Fox. It has published its next game, which is called Champions Ascension, which will be built on the blockchain in May.
Ludia, a game show company founded in 2007, began by developing licensed titles like The Price Is Right and other game show brands, and expanded into other titles like The Bachelor: The Videogame and Jurassic World Alive.
According to Venture Beat, Jam City planned to purchase Ludia and go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in May 2021. However, Jam City canceled that plan months later in July 2021 due to present market conditions. Ludia was purchased in September 2021 in the $165 million merger, but did not go public with the merged entity.
One worker said that the issue 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 let people know this is happening, it's just going as usual. However, in a city like Montreal, where theres such a large number of 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.