Layoffs hit PopCap, Nintendo Power mag is no more

PopCap – which recently eliminated 50 jobs from its Seattle branch – is currently mulling over the possibility of closing its Ireland studio.

According to PopCap co-founder John Vechey, the company is reorganizing its development team due to the rapidly evolving mobile games market and the need to maintain viable profit margins.

”In the past year, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way people play and pay for games. Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity. That happened fast. Surprisingly so,” Vachey explained in an official blog post.

“The change in consumer tastes requires us to reorganize our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms. It’s a completely different world from when we started. There’s also an economic component to the reorganization. To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency and maintain a profit.”

As you may recall, PopCap, of Plants vs Zombies fame, was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) in July 2011 for a cool $650 million. However, Vechey insisted that “the decision to reorganize was 100 per cent made by us,” with no pressure from EA.

“If we didn’t have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse,” he emphasized.

In other gaming related news, Nintendo Power magazine senior editor Chris Hoffman tweeted earlier today that he was “sad to see [the publication] go,” pledging to “try [and] make the last issues memorable.”

Nintendo Power – owned by Future Publishing – is one of the longest-running game magazines in the US, having been published since the summer of 1988. Although Nintendo Power currently boasts a total monthly readership of 475,000, the Japanese-based company doesn’t seem interested in taking direct control of the magazine. 

As Kyle Orland of Ars Technica reports, Nintendo Power editors and staffers were told of the magazine’s impending shuttering last week, with some currently being transitioned to work on other Future properties, including GamesRadar and MacLife magazine.