Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WoW developer Blizzard Entertainment to lay off 600

As reported by Develop (Blizzard to axe 600 jobs) and Gamasutra (Blizzard cuts 600 employees in organizational shift):

Blizzard Entertainment will lay off around 600 employees -- around 90 percent of which will come from its non-development departments -- after completing a review of its "current organizational needs."

According to Gamasutra's numbers, that cuts Blizzard's workforce from roughly 5600 to around 5000.

Even though it's mostly overhead, that's still 60 developers. Gamasutra reports:

Blizzard says its World of Warcraft team will not be impacted, nor will its development and publishing schedules for upcoming releases like Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard DOTA, and its Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft.

Not mentioned as exempt from the cuts were the in-development Titan MMO project or the online gaming service.

Although it's not mentioned, World of Warcraft's falling subscription numbers must be a factor.

This is the surest sign yet that WoW has peaked and, while still a powerhouse, has entered a period of decline.

Mojang hires the Bukkit devs for its Minecraft team

And just like that, with one swift move Mojang more than doubles the size of the team working on Minecraft:

Today we can announce that the four main developers of bukkit – a community-based Minecraft server implementation – have joined ranks with Mojang to bring you the same flexibility and versatility to the official Minecraft server. The four, Warren Loo (@evilseph), Erik Broes (@_grum), Nathan Adams (@dinnerbone) and Nathan Gilbert (@tahgtahv), will work on improving both the server and the client to offer better official support for larger servers and server modifications.

The plan is to build a fresh server API, and then extend it to support client-side modding (in one way or another). We will try to make it easy for bukkit users to convert if they wish to do so, but backwards compatibility is not guaranteed. We will, however, help bukkit to be compatible with 1.2, to avoid having a long gap while you wait for the official Minecraft server to catch up.

Many of you may ask why we decided to work with bukkit instead of other Minecraft teams, such as Spout or Forge. The reason is that we want more than just modding, and these guys have always had server admins in mind when developing their additions to the game. We hope that this will help the quality of Minecraft multi-player to improve, both for large and private family servers, while still being able to add fun stuff for the bigger audience.

In addition to the bukkit members, Daniel Kaplan (@kappische) will join to handle the project lead to coordinate Minecraft’s broader goals. I (@jeb_) will remain as lead developer and game designer for Minecraft.

From the announcement on

I am extremely pleased and proud to announce that, as of today, the Bukkit team has joined Mojang. When discussing the possibility of a modding API publicly, Mojang was concerned that they would be unable to provide the community with a suitable and powerful enough solution and we honestly feel that our experience building Bukkit will help them do so. Thanks to our work with Bukkit, we have a years worth of experience, failures and lessons to help us develop a proper modding API and intend to do whatever it takes to produce one that satisfies the needs of the community. Now that we have an opportunity to design the official Minecraft API, we intend to make it a suitable replacement for Bukkit, if not a significantly better one, while will remain a community for modders for the foreseeable future.

This is a good move; I'll have an analysis in a later post.