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.
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celethrine
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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
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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
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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.

Midgetsnowman
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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.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Golden_Girl Damonvile BryanCole 
….

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Estranged ManastuUtakata Snky BryanCole 
FYI/In case anyone is wondering: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinkerton_(detective_agency)

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

kofteburger It never was with them :-p

Polyanna
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Polyanna

agemyth I’m no business major, but this happens to all companies at some point.

The fact that people believe this is the reason that it happens.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

LegendOfVinnyT Business as usual then :-p

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Jack Pipsam PWE existing means it’s already too big for anyone’s good.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

wjowski He was promoted to STO lead designer :-p

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Damonvile BryanCole “All a union would do is make sure the whole company goes down at once.”

Then we need unions immediately at EA, Activision, Capcom, Trion, NCsoft, Nexon and PWE.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

skoryy A MOBA? :-p

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Lootcritter Gylnne PWE has any form of competence? :-p

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Sartinme I’d love a wikileaks style site for games – there’d be enough material on there to bring down a lot o these corporate publishers.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Evade2015 Or hopefully just left gaming altogether.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

DanMadden They’ll cut staff before they’ll cut lockboxes.

syberghost
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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.

StClair
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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.

MagmaFist
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MagmaFist

usagizero MagmaFist I agree, too Soon™. ;)

DanMadden
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DanMadden

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

flatline4400
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flatline4400

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

usagizero
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usagizero

Feydakin it’s like Donald Trump on the Apprentice. ;)

usagizero
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usagizero

MagmaFist Too soon. :(

usagizero
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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. :(

usagizero
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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. :

Evade2015
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Evade2015

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

Evade2015
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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.

Spacejesus3k
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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.

Devil Olive
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Devil Olive

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

Spacejesus3k
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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.

Evelmike
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Evelmike

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

devin007
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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
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Spacejesus3k

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

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

Damonvile BryanCole

Sometimes you could argue thats a good thing. Look at hostess. The Unuion willingly took paycut after paycut to keep everyones jobs alive. Then the management grabbed all the remaining money for bonuses, demanded the union take yet another paycut , the union refused, hostess went under, and guess who got blamed? Thats right. The Union and the “selfish” line workers. The CEOs got absolutely zero blame in the public media and ran off, because all anyone else cared about was “MUH TWINKIES”

Midgetsnowman
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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.

Sartinme
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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.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Snky BryanCole 
They’ll even likely send in the Pinkerton’s so you *kindly* don’t spread the movement. /sigh

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

MissingLynx 
If they’re laying people off, lock boxes doesn’t seem to be helping the company any. /sigh

MissingLynx
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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.

Armsman
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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 expansion ever; and in the end, the players didn’t love it as much as Al Rivera (Captain Geko) thought.  Also 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)

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Damonvile BryanCole 
As Daybreak is clearly demonstrating, collective labor rights is in fact what the industry needs. However, how to bring this too fruition is another matter altogether. As the fact that I am unaware of any gaming company that is unionized, strongly suggest the difficulty of implementing such. /sigh
As for the monetary issues you mentioned, that’s the company’s fault and not the workers.

MissingLynx
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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.

syberghost
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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.

BryanCo
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BryanCo

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

MewmewGirl
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MewmewGirl

A bunch of whiny free to play players quit the game when they released Tier 6 ships, complaining and moaning that they shouldn’t have to spend any money and should get everything for free.  At the time Tier 6 was new and only fro sale in the Cash Shops.  Since then they have done multiple events that have given away multiple Tier 6 ships to absolutely anybody who wanted to take part in them.  It wasn’t instant, you’d need to log in about 20 minutes a day for 3 weeks or something to get them but they have totally given away these ships.  Those free players that quit are still off whining that they released a new tier that you had to pay for, not realizing that they have given away multiple Tier 6’s to all players for free through these events.

For people who claim the game is grindy, you have a serious definition problem.  A game that you can play through every single quest one after another in a row, never having to stop to re-play the same mission ever or sit around in some spot killing over and over, that’s the very opposite of a grind.  “But the very best equipment in the game needs grinding to get!”  Yeah, that may be true, but you don’t need any of it to play through the game.  That was put there for something extra for people to do and get who play a lot.  You get stuff that’s nearly as good on your own or cheap from other players through the auction system and can play through every bit of content with that.  You’re never forced to grind to play through the game.  Don’t choose to grind to try to get the best stuff or earn free IAP currency and then claim the game is grindy.  You guys have no clue what the definition of the word is.  You get to max level here fast and easy and have access to every quest and piece of game content without ever pausing to grind at all.  If you guys think that’s what grinding is, I can’t wait until you play a game some day that has actual grinding for 10 hours or more between levels just to level up before you can access a tiny bit more content before having to grind levels again.

Star Trek nerds whine that the game isn’t pure enough, they can’t just enjoy it as a good game in it’s own right.  Star Trek lore opened itself up for the multiple universe stuff, so when a game is made that is in it’s own universe you can’t really complain that not everything is pure Star Trek.  Well, you shouldn’t complain that is, as they definitely *do* so they “can” :P  These are the same people who complain about the new movies.

I’ve found this game to be extremely decent when just played and enjoyed as an MMO.  It also was supposedly Perfect World’s top earner, so if it’s in trouble I think everything they have is in trouble.  Though I guess that was a year ago that it was the most profitable, maybe Neverwinter holds that spot for them now?

breetoplay
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breetoplay

evolv_monbly Mark Jacobs has been trying to hire programmers for like a year! Some of those laid off will not be having any problems finding new work.

MewmewGirl
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MewmewGirl

Feydakin How does this game have any “Asian grinder” feeling to it at all?  There is a ton of content and none of it needs grinding to do.  You hit level 50 incredibly fast, never having to re-do any mission ever on the way, and then have access to absolutely everything.  All of this stuff has great story lines and things to everything you do.  The only reason some people “grind” anything is to basically get free IAP currency and that’s their choice so that they can play for free and not spend anything.  The last reason people replay stuff is to get the very top tier equipment and things, none of which is actually needed to play through the game content though.  How can you call a game that needs no grinding to do any of the story and episode content “grindy”?  I don’t get it.

Peregrine_Falcon
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Peregrine_Falcon

Stormwaltz I suspect you’re right, I hope you’re wrong.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

TheJewishMerp wjowski had a good laugh at this.  I needed it, thanks ;)

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