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PopCap co-founder: Company leadership are "only ones culpable" for layoffs

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Plants vs. Zombies PopCap

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Today's "say it ain't so" news involves PopCap releasing about 50 employees at its Seattle offices and investigating the shaky future of its Dublin, Ireland branch. Now, PopCap co-founder John Vechey took to the keyboard with an official blog post (opens in new tab) explaining the decision with unusual clarity.

"In the past year, we've seen a dramatic change in the way people play and pay for games," Vechey wrote. "Free-to-play, social and mobile games have exploded in popularity. That happened fast. Surprisingly so. The change in consumer tastes requires us to reorganize our business and invest in new types of games on new platforms. It's a completely different world from when we started."

"There's also an economic component to the reorganization. To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency, and maintain a profit. We've been able to invest in creative new games like Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies because we had a high profit business. That business is challenged, and if we don't adapt, we won't be able to invest in new IP. That sounds harsh -- but if we don't stay in business, no more plants, zombies, jewels, frogs, or worms."

Vechey later tweeted (opens in new tab) a followup thought to the employee departures, saying, "PopCap's leadership, especially and including myself, are the only ones culpable for this sad news."

We're saddened by the layoffs at PopCap. It's refreshing, however, to see a developer breaking bad news with such candor, rather than burying it in an obfuscating haze of corporate jargon.

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?