Big Fish Games restructures, shutters Vancouver office

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Casual gaming studio Big Fish Games is laying off 49 employees at its Seattle headquarters, reassigning 70 others and closing its Vancouver office. The firm has also proposed shuttering facilities in Cork, Ireland, subject to a 30-day consultation.

Big Fish founder and CEO Paul Thelen told The Seattle Times that the layoffs are tied to the company's decision to wind down its cloud gaming services, which generated just 1 percent of sales. "Cloud delivery was a very expensive way to get our content to customers and required a pretty large scale of customer base to overcome the fixed costs of that delivery," he said.

Thelen added that Dave Stephenson, named president in December, is returning to his previous employer Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Big Fish COO John Holland was promoted to president.

Big Fish offers hundreds of games for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, as well as efforts for PCs, Macs and the Web, generating annual sales of about $200 million. Marquee titles include Plants vs. ZombiesBig Fish Casino and the acclaimed iPad release Fetch, developed over the course of an entire year at a cost of more than $1 million.

"Our free-to-play businesses, both casual and casino, will continue to be growth and leadership areas for us, and we are increasing our headcount and investment accordingly," Thelen said in a letter to employees. "On the premium casual business, we will continue to focus investment in our four largest languages: English, French, German and Japanese, and will evaluate what amount of new localized content we will provide for our other supported languages."

For more:
- read this Seattle Times article

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