Sony announces major layoffs at PlayStation affecting 900 employees, and the closure of the London studio

Sony has announced a major round of layoffs affecting about 900 employees, or about 8% of PlayStation's global workforce.

The layoffs affect a number of PlayStation studios, including Insomniac, Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, Firesprite, and most importantly, PlayStation Studio in London. Along with the layoffs, a number of games in development have been cancelled, Sony said.

in Blog postoutgoing Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan issued an update on what he called “a tough day at our company.”

“We have made the very difficult decision to announce our plan to begin reducing our total headcount globally by approximately 8%, or approximately 900 people, subject to local law and consultation processes,” Ryan said. Studios are affected.”

…The industry has changed dramatically, and we need to prepare ourselves for the future to prepare the business for what lies ahead.

“These are incredibly talented people who have been part of our success, and we are so grateful for their contributions. However, the industry has changed dramatically, and we need to prepare for the future to prepare the business for what lies ahead. We need to meet the expectations of developers and players and continue to push future technology in Gaming, so we've taken a step back to make sure we're ready to continue delivering the best gaming experiences to the community.

Ryan posted an email he sent to employees this morning, reassuring PlayStation players that “our plans to reorganize and simplify are so we can continue to deliver the best gaming experiences possible.”

In the email to employees, Ryan said that “difficult decisions have become inevitable” and that the layoffs affect employees in all regions of SIE, with several PlayStation studios affected.

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US employees will be told today if they still have a job. In the United Kingdom, where employment law requires a consultation process on mass layoffs, Sony has proposed closing its PlayStation London studio, which previously created virtual reality games, entirely. Ryan didn't confirm it in his email, but it seems likely that London Studio's PlayStation 5 co-op game set in modern-day fictional London will be cancelled.

Ryan also announced layoffs at UK studio Firesprite, which is working on a new narrative game. The status of that game is unknown. Elsewhere, Ryan announced cuts to various positions across SIE in the UK.

“The proposed changes mean we will enter a period of collective consultation before any final decisions are made,” Ryan said. “All employees taking part in the collective consultation will be updated on next steps today.

“For those who are leaving SIE: You are leaving this company with our deepest respect and appreciation for all of your efforts during your tenure.

“For those who will be staying at SIE: we will be saying goodbye to friends and colleagues we cherish during this process, and that will be painful. Your flexibility, sensitivity and adaptability will be crucial in the weeks and months to come.

“This will not be easy, and I am aware of its impact on well-being. Affected employees will receive support, including severance pay. Although these are challenging times, they do not indicate a lack of strength in our company, our brand, or our industry. Our goal is to We remain flexible, adaptable and remain focused on delivering the best gaming experiences possible now and in the future.

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“Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. Please be kind to yourselves and each other.”

We looked at our studios and portfolio, evaluated projects at different stages of development, and decided that some of these projects would not move forward.

In separate Blog postHermen Hulst, head of PlayStation Studios, confirmed that the layoffs affect Spider-Man developer Insomniac, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, as well as Sony's US-based technology, creative and support teams. Horizon developer Guerrilla was also affected.

Holst confirmed that some games had been canceled as part of a “re-evaluation of how we operate”, but failed to name them. “We looked at our studios and our portfolio, evaluated projects in different stages of development, and decided that some of these projects would not move forward,” Holst said.

“I want to be clear that the decision to stop working on these projects is not a reflection of the talent or passion of the team members. Our philosophy has always been to allow for creative experimentation. Sometimes great ideas don't become great games. Sometimes, a project starts with the best intentions before Shifts within a market or industry cause a change in plan.

According to leaked documents, Sony has called for headcount cuts at first-party studios. Dreams developer Media Molecule has suffered a round of layoffs, and there have been major cutbacks at Destiny developer Bungie, and previous layoffs at The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog.

Sony's cuts come during one of the toughest periods the gaming industry has ever faced, with mass layoffs throughout 2023 and continuing into 2024. Last month, Microsoft expelled 1,900 employees from its video gaming workforce following its acquisition of the video game company. With a value of $69 billion. Call of Duty owner Activision Blizzard. IGN recently spoke with developers about these layoffs to try to explain why.

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Earlier this month, Sony admitted that PS5 sales during the crucial holiday quarter failed to meet expectations. Sony had set an ambitious goal to sell 25 million PS5 devices during the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, but revised its expectations to 21 million after sales were lower than expected despite strong promotions. Sony sold 8.2 million PS5 units during the third quarter ending December 31, 2023, up from 7.1 million sold during the same quarter the previous year, but it wasn't enough to meet Sony's lofty goal.

Elsewhere, Sony said it will not release any existing mainline games from the PlayStation franchise before April 2025, ruling out big sequels in the God of War and Spider-Man franchises any time soon.

Wesley is IGN's UK news editor. You can find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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