No gaming job is safe, it seems, with Rock Band developer Harmonix today confirming major layoffs at the company. Roughly 12-15% of the 240 employees have been told not to bother coming in tomorrow, as the studio brings itself "into alignment with our current product development plans".
The official statement is as follows:
"Harmonix is restructuring our organization to bring it into alignment with our current product development plans. Unfortunately, this means reducing the number of full-time staff. We sincerely appreciate the work of each and every one of these employees. Harmonix is working to ensure that those affected are well taken care of as we make this change."
Sources close to the company explain that this will not affect DLC releases for Rock Band 3 or Dance Central. They also promise that future projects (including an unnamed 3DS music title - possibly a new version of Rock Band) will also go ahead as planned.
This news follows last week's revelation that MTV Games had all-but closed its doors. A spokesperson explained that "MTV Games has ceased its publishing operations but has not been completely dissolved." Parent company Viacom is still involved in a legal stoush with Harmonix, with the developer accusing the publisher of not paying performance-based bonuses.
We're not quite sure what this means for Harmonix, who were controversially put on the market late last year. In the absence of any third-party buyers, the company effectively bought itself, returning to its independent roots. Hopefully these new "product development plans" mean more good things for the music-based developer, who has carved quite a niche for itself within the industry.
Jimmy the Geek