Big Fish restructures business to focus on casual & social casino market

22nd August 2013 9:36 am GMT

Social games studio Big Fish Games is to discontinue its cloud delivery business and shut down its offices in Vancouver and Cork as it looks to restructure the business to concentrate on its casual games and social casino businesses.

In a letter circulated to staff yesterday, Big Fish chief executive Paul Thelen revealed that the company will shut down its cloud delivery business, which he said was “not growing as fast as we had hoped it would and is not on a path to profitability.”

“This decision reflects the reality that the costs to support streaming cloud delivery of premium games are too high, and the user adoption too low, for us to warrant continued investment,” he explained.

As a result, over 70 employees at its head office in Seattle would be shifted to work on its casual games projects, with a further 49 to be made redundant. All development projects at its Vancouver offices will be shifted to Seattle, with the Canadian base to close as a result.

Casual games development will also focus on the company’s four main languages, English, French, German and Japanese, with plans to evaluate what other localised content the company will provide in future. As a result Big Fish has also entered into a 30-day consultation period with staff at its support facility in Cork, Ireland with a view to closing down the facility.

Its office in Oakland, California, will remain open as a social casino development hub, with Thelen describing the genre as one of the most successful areas of the business, citing the example of its Big Fish Casino app, described as having achieved an “evergreen top 10 gross-sales ranking on the iPhone and iPad.”

He explained the cut-backs, saying that despite the company seeing “steady growth across multiple lines of business” and being set for its “11th straight year of record revenue”, the company had to “realign resources by increasing investment in the areas that are growing or profitable and eliminating investment in areas that are not on a path to success.”

“We had to make some very hard choices about these business areas that are not growing or profitable,” Thelen continued. “I want to stress that our decisions are not based on our company-wide performance or that of the people working on those initiatives – both of which are strong – but because of where the market is growing, and quite frankly, where it is not.”

In order to support the growth of the business chief operating officer John Holland has been promoted to president of the company while retaining his current role. His promotion comes after the previous president, Dave Stephenson, has left the business to “a new opportunity outside of Big Fish.”

Holland, who has been with the company since 2009, will oversee the functional areas of the business, with the company’s four general managers for its casual and social casino games businesses now reporting directly to Thelen.

“We are making these adjustments from a position of strength, not weakness, and I am confident that our best days are ahead,” Thelen said. “We are now positioned to maintain and grow our market leadership as the world’s largest producer of casual games, both premium and free-to-play, for PC, Mac and mobile devices.”

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