To the Dearly Departed...

AtomicGamer has published an article that looks back at some of the video game-related closures that took place this year due to the recession, including the demise of Iron Lore Entertainment, Stormfront Studios, Tabula Rasa, and the servers powering the multiplayer component for Vampire: Redemption and Arcanum.
EA's strategy involved laying off a total of six percent (500-600 employees) of its workforce as well as doing its future hiring in "low-cost locations). (I imagine that means someplace like China or Singapore.) LucasArts, High Moon, Radical Entertainment, Midway and THQ have followed suit, laying off significant percentages of their staff in recent months. Oh if only the calamity stopped there! Rumor has it the most recent cutback casualties are Age of Conan's Funcom staff which is rumored to have been reduced by 70% in just the last couple of days.

Companies specializing in online play are also scaling back, proving that even virtual worlds aren't immune to real world economics. Online games, while seeming to be the most profitable, have consistently proven their success to be the most difficult to sustain. Unlike their offline competitors, online games depend not only on grabbing an audience, but keeping its interest for months or years at a time. That's no easy feat under the best of circumstances and in this economic climate, if a title is anything but World of Warcraft, it's probably struggling. As of this month, Sierra Entertainment is shutting down twenty-one dedicated game servers that ran well-loved (but admittedly, older) titles like No One Lives Forever 2, Empire Earth, Homeworld and Vampire. Other online casualties include: Flying Lab Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea, which will be shutting down seven of its eleven servers and transferring all players to the remaining four; EA's Sims Online and Richard Garriott/NCSoft's Tabula Rasa, which will shut down as of February 28th of next year.