Perfect World Entertainment hit with potentially massive layoffs

Layoffs have hit Perfect World Entertainment. It was first rumored in a tweet by Ben PerLee, who had previously worked as PR for the company; the tweet has since been deleted, but a response calling it “a slaughter” remains [Nope, that one’s been deleted too now]. Matt Miller also tweeted today confirming that he had been laid off, having previously been working on Star Trek Online.

Captain Smirk, community manager for Star Trek Online, also appears to have removed references to his job with the game from his Twitter account. No official word has yet been put out regarding these layoffs or whether they extend beyond the one game into Neverwinter or non-Cryptic properties, and the threads discussing them on the official Star Trek Online message boards have been locked quickly by moderators. We are reaching out to PWE for confirmation and will have more on this story as it becomes available; until then, our sympathies extend to those affected by this staff reduction.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
118 comments
celethrine
celethrine

The "DPS Parsers" all have an "Upload" button that sends your private information to @sarcasmdetector, a 19 year old IT major who is a bully, and will bully people off of the "DPS channels" and ruin their game. The "DPS Channel People" monitor all the channels, especially the "Public Elite STF Channel", so if you speak at all on any channel, they can find you, throw your matches, and bully you and call you names. You cannot change your @handle, at all, ever, so in-game bullying can happen, and you must never speak on a channel again, sound discomforting yet? Neither PerfectWorld or Cryptic has the moral backbone to permanently ban @sarcasmdetector or any of the other bullies. They would have to ban at least 100 people, including "Starfleet Austria" who danced at Leonard Nimoy's funeral at Vulcan in-game, because he was an Orthodox Jew. Or "Starfleet Dental" or any other fleet of purely disgusting, miserable trolls. PWE nor Cryptic will kick these people, driving whales like myself and my friends away from STO. I Loved STO since Beta , and would invest in the game thousands of dollars a month, but I can't play anymore.


"If I can make someone stop playing, I consider that a SCORE!" - @sarcasmdetector.

Father Xmas
Father Xmas

PWE took a long hard look at Cryptic's 3 properties and decided where was the best place to put their dollars.  CO has been limping along.  STO just got a major update along with the Spock memorial and Neverwinter Nights ... I don't know how it's doing.  Isn't there enough swords and sorcery MMOs on the market already?  Sure it has a D&D pedigree but between WoW, ESO, GW2, AA not to mention EQ Next and Black Desert, I kind of think that genre is saturated.  And they tend to be populated by WoW players killing time until the next expansion.  And they're there because they don't have to pay monthly to kill time.


At least CO and STO are niche MMOs.  I don't think they will be going anywhere, just new content reduced to a slow drip with CS handled by game vets instead of game knowledgeable staff.  Capt Smirk's departure smells like CS consolidation or even outsourced.

Kyt Dotson
Kyt Dotson

The shakeup at PWE and Cryptic really has put concerns in a tailspin. I enjoy both Star Trek Online and Neverwinter and have covered PWE's games in the past -- and looking at some of the names laid off from STO, especially Positron from City of Heroes (aka Matt Miller), I felt the pang of nostalgia for eras long past gone. The lay off of Captain Smirk is also unexpected, he's been what I feel one of the better and more upbeat community managers for STO in some time. Good luck to all of them and to the people we don't know had to go yet.

DanMadden
DanMadden

Yes, please either cutdown or remove the lockboxes all together. they are very annoying. am considering becoming a lifetime subscriber soon.

Evade2015
Evade2015

Looks like the whales (the few who actually spend money to keep the game afloat) have moved on to other games

Evelmike
Evelmike

The response calling it a slaughter is now also gone from Twitter.

devin007
devin007

I remember when I first got out of highschool I went into finance but I decided I loved games so much I went back to Uni again for computer programming and new media. Luckily I ony wasted two years of my life before I got out and went back into business. So glad I got into the mining sector instead. The gaming industry really is a labour of love. Seems like a Thankless industry that doesnt pay enough for the work and late nights you have to put in, and when its all said and done, someone will deem your lifes work crap and your out on your ass again.

Spacejesus3k
Spacejesus3k

Hopefully they at least fired whoever was responsible for Delta Rising. 

Sartinme
Sartinme

I just thought of a niche website.  I'm thinking of an MMO based website that basically holds a continuing death pool for MMO's, developers and production studios.  On top of that we can top if off with an MMO buzzwords drinking game.  With all the talk of layoffs and general bad news I think gambling and drinking might be the only way to cure what ails this industry.

MissingLynx
MissingLynx

I have played STO on and off since launch. Even pre-ordered back in the day. Made it to max level finally a year or so ago. SO basically what I am saying is, I have experience in the game, but not a massive, massive amount. But....


Is it actually "grindy"? I mean. I never felt it was what I would call "grindy". The rep system with  marks certainly feels grindy, but it seems entirely secondary to the other aspects of the game, and only necessary if you are looking to do that sort of thing. 


The lockboxes, however, are insanely annoying. Less of that please. 

ManastuUtakata
ManastuUtakata

@MissingLynx 

If they're laying people off, lockboxes doesn't seem to be helping the company any either. /sigh

Spacejesus3k
Spacejesus3k

@MissingLynx As long a people keep buying lockboxes (or keys in this case) they will keep selling them. Why wouldn't they? People obviously want them.

Devil Olive
Devil Olive

@MissingLynx In the last year they've been intentionally, even maliciously, cranking the grind to 11.

usagizero
usagizero

@MissingLynx  Started playing a few hours a day recently, and also don't see the "grind". I can play fine and gain levels and such pretty fast. Even crafting and rep seem to be going fast. The only thing that felt extreme was the upgrade system, with what it takes, but no chance of real failure, so there is that. 


"The lockboxes, however, are insanely annoying. Less of that please."


Oh dear god, those. Normally i will sometimes play them, but that Jem hadar strike ship promotion, it got me. I won't say how much i spent on those crafting boxes, but i finally got that ship, and then got flooded with requests from people to buy it for a fraction of what it cost me. :\

StClair
StClair

@Devil Olive @MissingLynx Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by greed.

They don't hate us.  They just want our money.

Midgetsnowman
Midgetsnowman

@MissingLynx the problem is once you hit cap..there aint a whole lot to do once you've fisnished the mission chains except to grind or fly about randomly, imo anyhow.

BryanCo
BryanCo

FYI, the "response calling it a slaughter" no longer remains.

Spacejesus3k
Spacejesus3k

@MewmewGirl I never had a issue with spending money on T6, I have an issue with spending money on UGLY T6 ships just to have T6. If they offered a way to upgrade my cool looking ships to T6 I would have no issue paying for that.

syberghost
syberghost

@MewmewGirl NW has passed it, but STO is still in the top 100 games on Steam consistently, so it's doing well.


"Well" doesn't necessarily mean "what corporate expects", however; hence layoffs.

Evade2015
Evade2015

Doesn't matter how many downloads or users play a free to play game. All that matters are the few whales who actually spend money on the game. My guess is the majority of whales in STO left and now the game it's losing money.

usagizero
usagizero

@Spacejesus3k @MewmewGirl I also don't like that only some ships can be made T5-U, so they are at least not gimped feeling. I really wish STO had ship skins, i love how some ships look, but can't use without failing. :(

syberghost
syberghost

@Evade2015 a few layoffs don't make any sense in that context. If the game is losing a bit of money, it makes sense to cut a few positions, to make it profitable. If the game is a massive money-loser, then it makes sense to either staff up to fix it, or cut staff massively and put it on life support, or cut staff massively to a handful to manage the sunset.


Cutting a bit of staff and continuing to pay the rest to lose money doesn't make sense. Assume PWE acts in what they perceive to be their own best interests, and assume they've got a dozen successful MMOs under their belts. Any decision has to make sense in light of those assumptions, because they're facts.


The people griping on the forums that the latest patch has caused them to stop spending money have been saying the same thing with each patch. I used to moderate the STO forums and official IRC channel, I have watched this play out since beta. If they didn't have solid revenues, the game would be getting massive cuts, not a trim.

MissingLynx
MissingLynx

@MewmewGirl Yes, the tier 6 and "grind" complaints utterly baffled me. Neither of those things need to be done at all, and largely only exist for the people who want them.

manaek05
manaek05

Always sad to see people lose their jobs. However, despite the risk of being branded a jerk - the writing was on the wall. The quality of new content was ridiculously bad, so was the marketing, and too much was focused on money milking. And while I have some sympathy for them - I will also state the fact - the product, the content they worked on and released - was total crap. You can blame management for setting wrong direction and money milking - but even then, they have nobody to blame for shoddy patch/content quality but themselves. Their games are mess, the content is mess, the balance was...well, lets just say it wasn't. So, again, not surprised.

Peregrine_Falcon
Peregrine_Falcon

Maybe PWE will now consider making STO into a fun Trek game. Instead of just spending so much time making loot boxes and turning it into an eastern grind-fest.

That's assuming that STO survives PWE's financial difficulties.

Stormwaltz
Stormwaltz

It's only likely to become more grindy and wallet-grabby. Compared to other MMGs - and particularly compared to other PWE MMGs - Cryptic's monetization and content model were very generous.

(Sorry, accidentally posted mud-thought.)

Armsman
Armsman

@Peregrine_Falcon I doubt it - in fact I would say the latest monetization push by the STO Dev team was BECAUSE they saw the writing on the wall (or PWE just came out and said 'You're NOT meeting profit goals - fix it now...")  

I guess Delta Rising wasn't the best STO expansion ever; and in the end, the players didn't love it as much as Al Rivera (Captain Geko) thought.  Also, I won't be shy in saying if the layoffs continue,  I hope Mr. Rivera's position is up on the block - because (and IMO) ne's a lead Dev that's burned out on STO and isn't pushing the game in a good direction. (YMMV)

MesaSage
MesaSage

Sorry for the folks who will be looking for work, but there's some positive to come out of this.  It highlights the long-term financial impact of the chosen monetization strategy and might discourage others from pursuing it.  Secondly, talented employees might be more discriminating - going in - of what type of pay model their company uses.

Lootcritter
Lootcritter

The layoffs are part of a corporate 'realignment' according to an internal email. This isn't unreasonable considering the poor performance reported in the last financials. Typically this hits marketing and PR the hardest.

I have confirmations on four so far, more likely to come. I'll post names ONLY if they have a public face and have confirmed themselves. Sad day - been in their shoes myself. My only advice - is that is does get better ;)


http://www.lootcritter.com

Gylnne
Gylnne

@Lootcritter Hmm where have we heard "corporate realignment" recently? Oh yea is that not what they are doing with Day Break Games?:P

Sorenthaz
Sorenthaz

Hope Warframe wasn't affected, since last I checked DE were basically bought out by PW.  :/

Feydakin
Feydakin

The problem here is that the people that are doing the firing should be the ones being fired...

flatline4400
flatline4400

@Feydakin Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

Devil Olive
Devil Olive

Good.


STO has been increasingly been getting worse and worse with it's money grubbing and intentionally sucking all the fun out of the game with nerf after nerf after nerf taking the grind to unbearable levels.  Reap what you sow.


I sincerely hope Geko got the axe.

Craw
Craw

@Devil Olive Sadly, the people responsible for the suck are the ones doing the firing.

Midgetsnowman
Midgetsnowman

@Devil Olive @Craw Thats business for you. The rich get richer, the poor blame the other poor and the rich run off while nobody is looking.

skoryy
skoryy

Added note: Still wondering what new projects Dan Stahl and Stephen D'Angelo were moved to. If they're slashing MMORPG staff...

Midgetsnowman
Midgetsnowman

Sigh. Well, there goes any last vestiges of cryptic's abiluity to make good games.

TheJewishMerp
TheJewishMerp

I'm surprised that this didn't happen sooner. Don't get me wrong, I feel for the people laid off, it's terrible and no one should have to go through the hell that they are about to endure. But PWE is pretty shoddy with it's business practices (I'm looking at you RNJESUS Lockboxes) and I know that many players are incredibly unhappy with the P2W nature of Neverwinter and the current STO expansion.

skoryy
skoryy

C.R.E.A.M. as always. Best of fortune to all those affected. :(