One day after trumpeting its big Summer Game Fest reveals, Sumo Group is laying off 15% of its workers and closing Timbre Games

Deathsprint 66 screenshot
(Image credit: Sumo Digital)

Just days after showing off multiple games at various Summer Game Fest showcases, Sumo Group has announced that it is laying off up to 15% of its total workforce "to ensure the security of the business going forward."

"Whilst Sumo has been able to manage through many of the recent difficulties the games industry has faced, we have not been immune and reshaping operations across the business to better navigate the upcoming challenges expected in the coming months is a path we must now take to ensure the security of the business going forward," the company said in a statement.

"The difficult decision to reduce our costs across the business in a number of ways is a direct result of these challenges, and unfortunately will include a reduction in the number of people the business can support. Every alternate route to limit the impact to our people is being considered but sadly this process of transformation will affect up to 15% of our people across the Group in Canada, UK, Poland, Czech Republic and India."

The number of people being put out of work was not announced. Sumo Group's website indicates it has more than 1,790 employees across multiple studios around the world, which would put the number at around 270.

Whatever the case, the layoffs are particularly galling in light of the fact that just one day earlier, Sumo Digital was trumpeting its "busy weekend," which included the announcement of Critter Cafe at the Wholesome Direct showcase, and a gameplay trailer for DeathSprint 66 and a launch trailer for Still Wakes the Deep at the PC Gaming Show.

(Image credit: Sumo Digital (Twitter))

Polygon senior reporter Nicole Carpenter said on Twitter that the layoffs may also include the complete closure of development studio Timbre Games. Sumo Group did not reference the studio specifically, but multiple employees of Timbre Games confirmed the closure on LinkedIn.

"This morning, the team at Timbre Games was told the studio would be shut down," narrative designer Danielle Hunter wrote. "This has come as a shock and I’m still trying to process it. I’ve only been at the studio for a few months, but it has been a great place to work and I’m sad my time there has come to an end."

"I’m gutted to share that Timbre Games is closing its doors," game designer and creative lead Sophie Mallison said in a separate post.

Timbre Games was only three years old, having been founded by Sumo Group in July 2021. It hadn't released any games, but its website says it had two games in development at the time of closure, one an ARPG and the other less well-defined: "Kind of cozy, kind of RPGish, kind of sim-like."

The layoffs and studio closure are the latest addition to a long litany of awfulness that we've been witnessing and writing about since the start of 2023: Companies large and small eliminating jobs and shuttering offices to either position themselves for growth or stave off extermination.

In May 2024 alone, Behaviour Interactive, Avalanche Studios Group, Intercept Games, Phoenix Labs, and Square Enix all announced layoffs, while Microsoft closed four studios outright, including Prey developer Arkane Austin and Hi-Fi Rush maker Tango Gameworks, less than a year after dropping $68.7 billion to acquire Activision Blizzard—which resulted in the elimination of 1,900 jobs across its gaming business.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently, and for the second time, attempted to justify those cuts by saying he has to "run a sustainable business," which means he sometimes has to make "hard decisions." That statement came the same day that tech analyst Pierre Ferragu predicted that Microsoft is headed for a company valuation of $4 trillion.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.