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Layoffs confirmed at Sony Santa Monica

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Less than a month after announcing that Sony’s talented Santa Monica development team had moved premises to allow for expansion and to facilitate communication between developers, Sony Computer Entertainment America has confirmed that a number of employees have been let go from Santa Monica Studio.

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The news was confirmed in a statement from SCEA, which reads:

“SCEA can confirm that we have completed a reduction in workforce at Santa Monica Studio. This is a result of a cycle of resource re-alignment against priority growth areas within SCE WWS. We do not take these decisions lightly.

However, sometimes it is necessary to make changes to better serve the future projects of the studio. We have offered outplacement services and severance packages to ease transition for those impacted.”

While it may seem like a baffling decision after moving to a new studio space to facilitate growth in the future, the cycle of expansion and downsizing is common in the videogame development industry, especially with teams that number in the hundreds at the peak of a game’s production.

Once a game is complete, however, and the studio is in the design phase for the next game, there’s not a lot for the dozens of programmers and artists to contribute towards as the team’s core developers work on what’s next, resulting in a purge of talent, all before bulking up again as the next project gains speed. It’s not a good cycle, but it is the reality.

The developer’s previous game, God of War: Ascension, was said to have underperformed at retail, which for a one-game studio like Santa Monica is detrimental to its future.


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