Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Hitman: Absolution™ during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Hitman: Absolution follows the Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world.

*Offer ends Thursday at 4PM Pacific Time

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

So many layoffs. When will the carnage end?

After the gaming industry went on a dubstep-and-Dew-fueled vacation to E3 last week, it’s now back to business as usual. By “business,” I of course mean layoffs, and goodness gracious, figurative business is booming. However, literal business – the part where people make money – isn’t faring so well because, well, layoffs. This time, the sobering specter took its scythe to Hitman developer IO Interactive, reducing its workforce by “almost half”. Yeesh. The plan to get things back on track? Er, make more Hitman. Which is to say, make nothing but Hitman.

(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hitman studio lays off almost half its staff, taking another swing at franchise">hitmanabsolution



Dark clouds may have formed over Square Enix’s financial future months ago, but that doesn’t make the storm of layoffs at IO Interactive any less surprising or disheartening.

In a statement to Develop, Square Enix confirmed that almost half of IO Interactive's staff has been laid off. What makes this news particularly depressing is Hitman Absolution actually saw decent sales, but 3.6 million units sold (and that’s only physical copies) still wasn’t enough to hit Square Enix’s lofty expectations.

So what does this mean for IO? The studio has cut production on all non-Hitman projects while attempting to refocus on the next Hitman game.

"The studio will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new AAA Hitman project,” Studio Head Hannes Seifert said. “However, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO and reduce the workforce in this studio, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today's market."

Hitman Absolution may not have scratched our homicidal itch, but we still wish everyone affected the best of luck.
Announcement - Valve
Save up to 75% on new Week Long Deals on Steam, available now until May 6th at 10AM Pacific time!













PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Square Enix’s new president plans fundamental review, as more lay-offs hit LA office">Tomb Raider - fire



Square Enix's incoming president, Yosuke Matsuda, has started sharpening the axe of financial viability after the "extraordinary loss" of this last financial year. In a Square Enix Holdings briefing session, translated by Siliconera, Matsuda announces plans to review all elements of the business, with a view to focusing its direction on "what makes us successful".

"After having succeeded the important role as the president, I plan on reviewing all Square Enix duties, business and assets on a zero-based budgeting standpoint," Matsuda says. "Due to the radical change of environment, I’d like to fundamentally review what works and what doesn't work for our company, then cast all of our resources towards extending what makes us successful and thoroughly squeezing out what doesn't.

"As far as a concrete plan on what to expect from us, I will further explain it on another briefing session in the near future, so I kindly ask for your patience. Thank you for your support."

While Matsuda isn't due to step into the role until June, Square Enix have already begun to restructure. In a statement to Polygon, senior director of PR Reilly Brennan announced, "We can confirm that Square Enix's Los Angeles office has eliminated a number of positions as part of the corporate restructuring announced last week. This is an unfortunate situation and we are offering assistance and severance packages to any employees affected by this, we want to thank them for their hard work and sincerely wish them well in the future." This is in addition to the LA office lay-offs made back in December.

How SE's development studios will be affected by Matsuda's review is unclear, but sales figures suggest a change may be due. Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs all failed to meet expectations, despite Tomb Raider experiencing a record launch week for the series.
Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Hitman: Absolution™ as part of this week's Weekend Deal*!

Hitman: Absolution follows the Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Square Enix expects “extraordinary loss” this fiscal year, CEO steps down">Tomb Raider Windy Ledge



Square Enix have announced the resignation of their CEO, Yoichi Wada, following an earnings forecast that predicts the company will experience "extraordinary loss" this financial year. According to their consolidated results report, the company had expected to make profits of 3.5 billion yen (approx. £24.5 million) before the end of the financial year, this March 31st. That didn't happen. Instead, Square Enix is now expected to report a loss of 13 billion yen (approx. £91 million).

According to the report, "The Company forecasts that actual business results from its Digital Entertainment Segment substantially fall below its plan primarily due to slow sales of major console game titles in North American and European markets." Detailed sales breakdowns aren't available, but while some of the low earnings will be from the Japanese console-only side of the business, no doubt their Western studios, recently responsible for Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Tomb Raider, have also underperformed.

In addition to Wada's resignation, to be replaced by former company president Yosuke Matsuda, Square Enix are also planning a major restructure in "development policy, organizational structure, some business models, and others." What the means in real terms - especially for upcoming projects like Eidos Montreal's Thief - remains to be seen.

Thanks, Polygon.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

metaphor

It’s a bad day for Square Enix, latter-day publisher of Tomb Raider, Hitman, Deus Ex and Thief, as well as those dreary Final Fantasy things. Citing “slow sales of major console games” as well as uninspiring business from its arcade machine arm, it’s admitted that its recent monies “substantially fall below its plan” and its president Yoichi Wada has fallen on his sword as a result. (more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Origin Player Appreciation Sale chops up to 70 percent off EA’s big franchises">Origin Player Appreciation Sale



It isn't often we see the words "Origin" and "sale" next to each other, but this week is the exception: EA is running a week-long Player Appreciation Sale which discounts some pretty hefty games in the publisher's lineup—titans such as Mass Effect 3, Crysis 3, and Battlefield 3.

Here's the full list of games on sale and their prices:

Battlefield 3 Premium—$25
Battlefield 3—$12
Battlefield 3 Premium Edition—$30
Crysis 3—$30
Crysis 3 Digital Deluxe Edition—$40
Crysis 3 Digital Deluxe Upgrade—$10
The Sims 3 Seasons—$20
The Sims 3 University Life—$28
The Sims 3 Supernatural—$15
Dead Space—$6
Dead Space 2—$6
Dead Space 3—$30
Resident Evil 5—$10
Mass Effect 3—$10
The Walking Dead—$10
Batman: Arkham City GOTY Edition—$12
FIFA Soccer 13—$20
Command & Conquer Ultimate Collection—$15
Hitman: Absolution—$15
Saints Row: The Third Full Package—$25
Assassin's Creed 3—$35
Assassin's Creed 3 Deluxe Edition—$56
Darksiders 2—$18
Dead Island GOTY Edition—$10
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City—$25


Normal and special editions on sale? And they're big games? I don't want to spoil this rare opportunity to enjoy a good Origin sale with cynicism, but it's hard not to chortle lightly at the convenient devaluing of nearly half the games EA offered SimCity players for free earlier this week.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

you can't even see the join

Lackluster Hitman: Ablutions sales and wider money woes at publisher Square Enix don’t seem to have deterred their interest in doing something more with old Baldy McMurderpants. Or maybe money woes is exactly why they’re happy to let a sequel to/reboot of the rather wretched 2007 Hitman movie go ahead. (more…)

...

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