Nintendo DS developer n-Space confirms lay-offs and shuttering of production
Dan O'Leary, CEO of n-Space, has posted a statement on his blog
following layoffs at the company on Friday
. His summary: "n-Space is down, but definitely not out." Apparently, the company had a crucial deal canceled at short notice, and had been running unfunded.
The Florida-based company has been developing the Nintendo DS versions of the upcoming James Bond videogames "Blood Stone" and "GoldenEye" on behalf of publisher Activision.
Although O'Leary was scant on the details of the lay-offs, it is understood that everyone from the remaining 70-strong company has been let go, except for a small core team. 25% of the workforce had already been laid-off in August. Technically, the studio has not closed, and is negotiating new deals. Following this, he said he expects that he will be calling people back before the end of next week.
As the company has been supporting 70 to 90 employees for several months with no funding, the collapse of a licensing deal, together with no commitments from other publishers to offset this loss, led to the current state of affairs.
In his blog post, O'Leary rants about the state of the games industry and how difficult it is for an independent developer to survive in a climate where players only buy a few AAA titles and are "supplementing their need with games that are free or cost less than a pack of gum. The [Apple] App Store has disrupted our industry in the same way iTunes changed consumer expectations for music."
Activision, who published "Quantum of Solace" on the Nintendo DS platform to a meager 100,000 units, may like to take note of how their selected developer views the sales prospects of their next bunch of titles: "The Wii and DS markets have nearly collapsed," O'Leary said. "Even for an extremely successful Wii/DS developer like n-Space, with a long history of delivering quality titles on time and on budget, this creates a very challenging business environment."
n-Space also created the DS version of the critically slammed "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent" for Electronic Arts, in what the company describes as "a quick work-for-hire project done in 4 months".
5 of the 7 titles n-Space were developing in 2010 were approved by their publishers in September, although the company does not state which side of the line the 007 titles fall.
Activision have been sought for comment.
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