SOE announces layoffs to "streamline employee base" [Updated]

T.J. Hafer at

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that it is laying off an unknown number of employees at its Austin and San Diego studios. The veteran MMO publisher best known for the EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, and PlanetSide franchises is currently ramping up on EverQuest Next, and describes the reduction in staff as meant to "strategically align resources" toward current projects.

The official announcement states: "As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate positions in both its San Diego and Austin studios. This strategic alignment of resources better positions SOE to remain a global leader in online games, as well as to align development resources towards our current portfolio of MMOs and the highly-anticipated future installments of the EverQuest franchise, EverQuest Next Landmark and EverQuest Next."

We've asked SOE for comment on which specific teams and MMOs are affected, and will update this article if we learn more.

Update: We earlier reported on an out-of-date statement regarding the closure of three of Sony's former studios. We apologize for the confusion, as the current round of layoffs only affect Austin and San Diego. It's hard to lay people off from something that no longer exists.

Update 2: We have been told by a trusted source that as many as 200 people may have been laid off, though this figure includes temporary workers. Allegedly, about 100 of these layoffs were from SOE's quality assurance and customer support areas.