Eric Johnson

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Big Fish Games Restructures, Closing Offices and Replacing President


Update: This article previously stated that a Big Fish representative did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman’s email confirming the story and clarifying the headcount at the two international offices was caught in a spam filter and did not reach us before publication.

Casual-game studio Big Fish Games will lay off 49 employees at its headquarters in Seattle, and has proposed closing offices in Vancouver and Ireland.

The Seattle Times obtained a letter to employees from CEO Paul Thelen, which stressed that the cuts are targeted, not the result of general problems. “2013 will be our 11th straight year of record revenue and we remain profitable with a positive cash flow,” Thelen wrote.

The CEO singled out Big Fish’s cloud game-streaming initiative, which launched last year, as due for closure: “This decision reflects the reality that the costs to support streaming cloud delivery of premium games are too high, and the user adoption too low, for us to warrant continued investment.”

Projects begun in the Vancouver office will be consolidated into the Seattle location, which is the HQ for Big Fish’s main business, premium and free-to-play casual games. The Seattle Times report says this consolidation means that the six employees affected by their office’s shutdown will be offered the choice to continue working for Big Fish from Seattle. The Cork, Ireland, office’s closure will hinge on a “30-day consultation” with its 89 employees, according to Thelen’s letter.

The company’s president, Dave Stephenson, will be replaced by COO John Holland, but Holland will remain COO.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus