Hudson Confirms Layoffs
UDPATE 2 – Hudson Entertainment’s sales and marketing VP tells Next-Gen that a number of layoffs have occurred, but insists that they are "not as pervasive" as sources have stated.
See updates below original story.
All of the layoffs occurred within the company’s mobile division this morning, according to a source who wished to remain anonymous.
"Their mobile division has not been profitable for about the last year-and-a-half or so," the source said. "They’ve just been having a lot of trouble getting their games onto big carriers like Verizon and Cingular. It’s a very competitive market place."
He pegged Hudson Entertainment’s workforce at around 50-70 people total, meaning layoffs ranged somewhere between 25 and 35.
The source said that Hudson Entertainment intended to bring original ideas to US carriers as well as port over mobile games from Japan, but those ideas were "shot down."
He said that missteps in marketing and management were also contributing factors that led to poor performance of the mobile division.
Workers laid off will receive two weeks of severance pay. Our source said that there are "lots of unhappy people" at Hudson Entertainment today.
"It seemed like it caught everyone off guard. They didn’t see it coming," he said.
A call to Hudson Entertainment sales and marketing VP John Lee was unreturned as of press time.
Hudson Entertainment is the North American arm of Bomberman house Hudson Soft, which is based in Japan.
[UPDATE] Lee later contacted Next-Gen, stating, "We did have some layoffs, but contrary to what people are saying, the [mobile] division is not phased out. It still continues on."
He said that Hudson Entertainment is "shifting its resources" from QA and porting to development.
The QA and porting functions of the company will become outsourced, according to Lee. "For mobile, it’s a very challenging environment to perform those things."
Lee said that some of the members of the mobile team had moved into other parts of the company, saying that layoffs are "not as pervasive as everyone is saying."
Lee confirmed that the Redwood Shores office contained about 60 people prior to the layoffs, but declined to disclose final layoff numbers, which are still being finalized, according to Lee.
"The layoffs are a lot less than what’s being reported," he said. Our source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that about half of the staff had been let go.
A press release from Hudson stated, "Hudson will continue to develop, publish and market mobile games, with eight game titles on the product roadmap for 2008, including Bomberman Land, Military Madness 2, R-Type, as well as three new IPs. Hudson’s other business lines, including music, console games and digital downloads are unaffected."
[UPDATE 2] On Friday, our anonymous source gave Next-Gen solid numbers on the Hudson Entertainment layoffs. Twenty-two out of 56 employees (around 40 percent) were fired, and only two employees from the mobile division were moved into other parts of the company.
"I’d call that pretty "’pervasive,’" said the source, countering Lee’s comments from yesterday.