Thunderful Group, the company behind games like 2023’s SteamWorld Build and Lego Brick Tales, has announced plans to lay off roughly 20 percent of its workforce, as first reported by GamesIndustry.biz. Kotaku notes that 20 percent of the company’s workforce is about 100 employees. As for why, Thunderful CEO Martin Walfisz cites the company’s need to reduce costs.
“Since I joined as CEO in the fall of 2023, we have evaluated the current business and the future position of Thunderful,” the company told GamesIndustry.biz. “To ensure and strengthen the viability of the group, we have found no alternative other than to reduce costs and focus the business on areas with the best future growth and profitability prospects.
“It has been difficult to make these decisions, and it saddens me that we will have to say goodbye to many skilled colleagues and partners. Nevertheless, I am convinced that this is a necessary direction for Thunderful and that these changes will make the company a stronger player in the market.”
Thunderful says it hopes the layoffs and the financial effects of them will be reflected in the company’s second half of 2024. It is admittedly hard to care at all about this company’s finances in the second half of 2024 when about 100 people are either now or soon-to-be jobless, but alas – thanks Thunderful.
These Thunderful layoffs join a string of layoffs that happened last week. We learned Unity would be laying off 1,800 people by the end of March, and that Twitch was laying off 500 employees. Discord also announced it had laid off 170 employees. Just today, Game Informer covered layoffs happening at PTW, a support studio that’s worked with companies like Blizzard and Capcom. And all of these layoffs, which total more than 2,500, have happened just this year. Last year, more than 10,000 people in the games industry or games-adjacent industries were laid off.
In January of last year, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees amidst its ongoing $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which it completed in October.
Striking Distance Studios, the team behind 2022’s The Callisto Protocol, laid off more than 30 employees in August of 2023. That same month, Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare laid off 50 employees, including long-time studio veterans. The following month, in September, Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios laid off roughly 45% of its staff, and Fortnite developer Epic Games laid off 830 employees.
In October of last year, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog laid off at least 25 employees, and Telltale Games also underwent layoffs, although an actual number of affected employees has not yet been revealed. Dreams developer Media Molecule laid off 20 employees in late October.
In November, Amazon Games laid off 180 staff members, Ubisoft laid off more than 100 employees, Bungie laid off roughly 100 developers, and 505 Games’ parent company, Digital Bros, laid off 30% of its staff.
In December, Embracer Group closed its reformed TimeSplitters studio, Free Radical Design, and earlier in the year, Embracer closed Saints Row developer Volition Games, a studio with more than 30 years of development history. A few weeks before the winter holidays, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering owner Hasbro laid off 1,100 employees.
The games industry will surely feel the effects of such horrific layoffs for years to come. The hearts of the Game Informer staff are with everyone who’s been affected by layoffs or closures.