Sony Online Entertainment lays off staff


Everquest Next creator confirms cuts, says development on anticipated MMO and Landmark side project unaffected

John Smedley

Sony Online Entertainment laid off an unspecified number of employees today. In posts on the company’s game-specific forums, one of the developer’s community managers posted a statement confirming “a reduction in our workforce.”

“As a company, our goal is to focus on our core expertise of MMO games and as part of these efforts, we had to make the difficult decision to eliminate positions to help reduce costs, streamline our employee base and strategically align resources towards our current portfolio of games and upcoming slate of MMOs, including EverQuest Next Landmark and EverQuest Next,” the statement read.

SOE president John Smedley addressed the news on Twitter, saying that the company will continue working on all its games, whether they are operational, in development, or entirely unannounced.

In a company-wide email obtained by Polygon, Smedley said the layoffs were necessary to bring expenses in line with revenue. He added that it was something that probably should have been done a year ago, but the company spent that time doing what it could to avoid the cuts.

“I know most of the people we’re laying off today. Some of them have been with us here since the beginning. None of them deserved this,” he said. “Our goal as a company needs to be to make incredible games and grow again so we can bring our friends back.”

Everquest Next

Smedley stressed that this would not slow down development on Everquest Next, and that if anything, the company planned to ramp up efforts on that title.

 

[source]

Cerny: 3 or 4 years before devs will get the best out of PS4


The PS4 lead architect says console’s GPU customisation will offer more performance

Mark Cerny

PlayStation 4’s lead architect has suggested that it could be a few years before we see developers really making the most of the consoles technical abilities, and revealed the PS4 has ten times the power of its predecessor.

“We set our target at 10 times the PlayStation 3’s performance, because that’s what we felt we needed to achieve in order to differentiate the titles,” Mark Cerny told Polygon.

“I believe we are at that level of performance. I mean, the million pre-orders we have is, I think, speaking to that.”

During its PS4 reveal Sony was keen to point out that conversations with developers had played a significant role in the design of the machine with the aim of making it easier to develop for than previous Sony consoles.

“It’s a supercharged PC architecture, so you can use it as if it were a PC with unified memory,” he added.

“Much of what we’re seeing with the launch titles is that usage; it’s very, very quick to get up to speed if that’s how you use it. But at the same time, then you’re not taking advantage of all the customisation that we did in the GPU. I think that really will play into the graphical quality and the level of interaction in the worlds in, say, year three or year four of the console.”

 

[source]

Nintendo won’t have a press conference at E3 2013


The company decides that the Nintendo Direct approach is better

No press conference at E3 2013 for Nintendo

In its financial results briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that the company will not have the traditional press conference event at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Instead, the company will be hosting two closed, software-focused events for press and distributors.

“We have decided not to host a large-scale presentation targeted at everyone in the international audience where we announce new information as we did in the past,” said Iwata in a transcript of the briefing. “Instead, at the E3 show this year, we are planning to host a few smaller events that are specifically focused on our software lineup for the U.S. market. There will be one closed event for American distributors, and we will hold another closed hands-on experience event, for mainly the Western gaming media.”

“During the E3 period, we will utilize our direct communication tools, such as Nintendo Direct, to deliver information to our Japanese audience, including those who are at this financial briefing, mainly focusing on the software that we are going to launch in Japan, and we will take the same approach outside Japan for the overseas fans as well.”

Iwata explained that Nintendo found that the broad conference event was not efficient, since it wasn’t specifically tailored to a certain audience.

“As video game fans are looking for information about games, it seems that they are less interested in sales figures that investors and analysts on the other hand attach much greater importance to, and distribution partners are looking for information on how we are going to market our products in the immediate future,” said Iwata.

“Given that we now have an established method such as Nintendo Direct, we feel that we will be able to deliver our messages more appropriately and effectively by doing so individually based on the various needs of different groups of people.”

This year’s E3 is looking to be a software-focused event overall. Sony already announced the PlayStation 4 console, leaving a software slate, final hardware design, and retail price for a potential E3 reveal. Microsoft just announced that its next Xbox event will take place on May 21, weeks before E3. The company later confirmed that software for the next Xbox would be showcased at E3 itself. And now Nintendo follows suit, leaving us with what should be a different E3 2013.