The videogame industry continues to be plagued by layoffs as 505 Games parent company Digital Bros has announced plans to eliminate roughly 30% of its total workforce. The company said the cuts are necessary because, simply put, gamers prefer sequels and remakes to brand-new games, and so that's what it's going to focus on.
"The videogame market has evolved since the pandemic to be more selective in terms of new games, with consumers increasingly reverting to well established intellectual properties and playing these same games for longer periods," the company said. "Digital Bros strategy has had to adapt to this new and evolving competitive scenario and will focus its efforts moving forward on the release of sequels and new versions of previously successful and established games, with a limited number of new larger budgets productions.
"In order to prioritize high-quality and long-standing successful titles, Digital Bros has reconsidered the number of projects under development and as such, will review the organization structure accordingly to align with the evolving competitive environment in the medium to long-term to ensure maximum operational efficiency."
Digital Bros isn't a particularly well-known name in the videogame world, but it owns a number of studios you may be familiar with: 505 Games is the biggest name of the bunch, but it also has DR Studios, Kunos Simulazioni, Avantgarden, Nesting Games, Supernova Games, Infinity Plus Two, and Ingame Studios. Through them (primarily 505), the company holds publishing rights to a number of big names to come out in recent years, including Control, Death Stranding, Ghostrunner, the reborn Hawken (which we didn't particularly care for) and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It's also the majority shareholder in Payday studio Starbreeze.
So it's a not-insignificant presence in the business, but it doesn't have a tentpole game series that it can reliably sequelize, and that's apparently a problem. That's understandable to an extent. Sequels are the bread and butter of the videogame business, and 505's publishing record is notoriously uneven: For every Journey to the Savage Planet, there's a Crime Boss: Rockay City. Still, I've always kind of appreciated 505 for its willingness to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, and it's sad that it will likely bear the brunt of these job cuts—and frankly this blunt admission that gamers will pass up steak once a week for crap every day really bums me out.
Digital Bros didn't reveal the actual number of employees who will be left without a job by these layoffs, but a 30% cut is deep no matter how you slice it. Of course, "the predominant portion" of the layoffs will be "concentrated within the studios." I've reached out to Digital Bros for more information and will update if I receive a reply.