Wargaming Seattle shuts down while Digital Extremes gets an American sister studio

Corporate shuffling is rarely great news, but for the employees at Wargaming Seattle, it looks like it’s worse news than normal. The American wing of Wargaming.net, best known for World of Tanks, appears to have been shut down and put over 100 staff members out of work. No reason has yet been given for the closure and no statement has been issued regarding the studio’s fate.

Meanwhile, the owners of Digital Extremes (best known for Warframe) are busy getting more invested into gaming with the opening of a new studio in Burbank, CA. Athlon Games is a US publishing arm of Leyou Technologies Holding Limited, which might seem odd for a company that supposedly deals in chicken products. The publishing arm apparently will be specializing in free-to-play titles, so it remains to be seen exactly what it will be bringing out… just that it’ll be expanding the company’s existing assets.

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Sally Bowls

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/318724/Wargaming_Seattle_is_shutting_down.php

“I can confirm that Wargaming will be closing their Redmond development studio as part of the company’s restructuring process. Every member of the 150-strong team that has been working on an unannounced MMO project will be offered a severance package. Wargaming will be assisting the current employees of the Redmond studio, if they decide to apply for open positions in other offices within the company. We would like to express our gratitude and thank everyone on the team for their hard work.”

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Jack Pipsam

R.I.P Gas Powered Games, quite the legacy with Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander and later fixing Age of Empires: Online.

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IronSalamander8 .

I haven’t played WoT since they added the Japanese heavy tanks (which I burned through to tier 10 quickly as I had a ton of free xp saved up) but I thought the game was still doing well overall? Does this have any effect on players in the Americas? 100 people losing their jobs sucks but unless things are worse there than it appears I don’t see a reason for them to do that in the first place.

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Armsbend

It might have been their mobile arm or something.

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Adam Maxwell

The local news here in Redmond reported that it was WG Cells, their 64-person mobile studio that closed. The former Gas Powered Games studio turned Wargaming Seattle, according to that report, is still open.

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Sally Bowls

See WG’s announcement above. It was the people working on their MMO. Which makes more sense; studios tend to be increasing the investment in mobile and reducing the investment in MMOs. (which is sad for me.)

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sorphius

My understanding from talking with the (former) WG employees active in the Clan Wars Slack chat is that it’s more a consolidation than a reduction in force and coincides with a hiring drive in the Austin, TX office.

Most of WoT’s development work still happens in Cyprus. The North American office handles region-specific events (tournaments, Clan Wars campaigns, etc), but that work isn’t especially labor-intensive and doesn’t require a large developer base — at least not for Tanks.

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Armsbend

“Athlon Games is a US publishing arm of Leyou Technologies Holding Limited, which might seem odd for a company that supposedly deals in chicken products.”

It isn’t odd at all once you realize gaming acquisitions are now for money laundering schemes, data collection and illegal political contributions. Wait, did you think mining companies and chicken processing plants were buying gaming for portfolio diversification? Lol, that’s rich.

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Sally Bowls

The term “financial engineering” is about being on the legal side of the line in the US. Where there are companies in places with growing wealth, growing stock market, and draconian government interference, deals will happen. Some may even be legal.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-05-17/why-did-a-chinese-peroxide-company-pay-1-billion-for-a-talking-cat

“Regulators and investors in China focus almost exclusively on a company’s bottom line. In Shanghai, a company must show three years of profitable operations before listing. And once a stock is trading, it suffers if a company doesn’t have new sources of profit. With games, Butt says, “you can buy profit.”

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Sally Bowls

OTOH, just because you are paranoid, does not mean they aren’t out to get you.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/22/china-us-tech-companies-cfius-572413

As a senior official at the Treasury Department, which oversees CFIUS, put it: “Any time we see a company that has lots of data on Americans — health care, personal financial data — that’s a vulnerability.”

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kgptzac

It’s called chicken laundering.