Microsoft Not-So Victoria Secret
After being open for less than two years, Microsoft's downtown studio, Victoria, has shut its doors. The news is sad for the 30+ workers who have been laid off at a terrible time of year. In a brief statement, the company said that the decision was to consolidate its resources.
"This was not an easy decision, but one guided by our desire to centralize development in our Vancouver studios. We are working closely with all employees affected by this change to identify open positions in other studios, and we remain committed to doing business in British Columbia."
There was no spokesperson available at the time to answers question, or how many workers would be affected. Dan Gunn, executive director of the Victoria Advanced Technology Council added:
"It was great to have a large, well-known brand like Microsoft come to town and we're sorry to see them go, but in the end it wasn't a giant studio. Fortunately, we have seen the game-design sector start to expand here since 2007 and I think a lot of these people will get picked up by other studios, and I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of them started a studio of their own."
Gunn would not speculate as to why Microsoft have made this decision, but dismissed the reason that it was because Don Mattrick left to join Zynga. He also went on to say:
"I think we all hoped they would continue to expand. Don Mattrick was obviously a massive champion for that office and seeing him go caused us to take notice, but it's tough to know the inner workings of a large corporate giant like Microsoft. When a head office is in another country and making large corporate decisions, often a smaller outpost can be a victim to a broader strategy."
Victoria Studios opened early 2012, with the company looking to expand to a 150 strong workforce over 3 years. The closing came as quite a surprise within the game industry, with Kixeye general manager, Clayton Stark, saying:
"This was not expected. But it has nothing to do with our sector, it has to do with a big company making a decision and does not herald a slowdown."
Newly opened TinyMob Games, have taken advantage of this by hiring some ex Microsoft employees and CEO Alex Mendelev said:
"[Victoria's gaming sector] is a pretty thriving industry and I'm sure these guys will find jobs in one of the other 18 companies. They are a very talented bunch of guys, and my understanding is many of them have multiple offers on the table right now. I don't think they will have any trouble finding work in town."
This could be good for the smaller developers, as now they not got any big competition from Microsoft to worry about. Let us know what you think of this below.