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‘Routine’ Game Industry Layoffs Kill Creativity

Earlier this month, Microsoft released Fable: The Journey, the Kinect-controlled spinoff of the Xbox role-playing game series. Almost immediately thereafter, it laid off nearly 10 percent of the staff at developer Lionhead Studios.

It’s just business as usual in the game industry. Developers staff up to make a huge game, then shed members once it ships because they no longer have anything for them to do. It happens again and again, whether the game is successful or not: Take-Two had a huge hit with Red Dead Redemption in 2010, then immediately canned 40 workers from its Rockstar San Diego studio, calling the layoffs “typical.”

Typical? Sure. Good business practice? Not so much, say developers.

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