The news broke yesterday that Sony Online Entertainment laid off 5% of its workforce (41 full time employees).
First of all, my heart goes out to these people. I’ve been through it, many of us have, but I’ve never been through it when the job market is as tragically bad as it is now. It’s a time when employers are grabbing us all by the sensitive parts and squeezing the lifeblood out of us and we don’t have the leverage we ought to have when it comes to negotiating new positions and salaries. I hope in spite of this, all 41 individuals quickly find fulfilling jobs that pay them a fair wage.
Anyway, many sites covered it, including Virtual World News. But what struck me as odd was how they phrased the headline: “Free Realms Developer Details Layoffs.” I read that headline and thought “Oh, I guess many of the 41 must have come from the Free Realms team.” but the article said nothing of the sort. In fact they offer no more details than any other site has.
But to Virtual World News, SOE is apparently known as ‘the company that makes Free Realms.’ With its long history of EQ products, and its big licenses like Star Wars & DC Comics…Free Realms is what stands out to VWN.
I just found that interesting and a little bit bizarre, so thought I’d share.
2 thoughts on “A strange slant on the Sony layoffs”
That is interesting. Reading about this on Massively my question was, if Free Realms is doing as absurdly well as supposed, why would Sony resort to a measure essentially described as “trimming the fat”? Perhaps that is why Free Realms was in the forefront of the author’s mind.
However, the layoffs are probably more simply explained by the struggles of the broader Sony empire. Top-level management in Japan likely ordered a 5% cut in labor whether it was justified or not. Having worked in an even larger corporation, I can attest to executives’ temptations to save a clearly measurable sum at the expense of revenue or savings that were somewhat ambiguous but exponentially greater.
I read it as either incompetence or an axe to grind. Of course the implication is that FR isn’t doing well. If that’s not truly the case, and the layoffs are from elsewhere in SOE, or even across the board, there is some journalitic integrity being flushed down the tubes.
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