Funcom restructuring said to affect all branches

Jan. 21, 2013 @ 05:19 PM

Some of the development team from the Montreal office of the Norway-based game development company Funcom will be moving to the company’s studio in Durham as part of a recently announced restructuring, according to company spokesman.

Last August, the company announced a layoff that affected about half of its workforce, including workers in Durham. The layoff followed the release of the company’s multi-player online computer game “The Secret World.”

Earlier this month, the company, which has offices in Norway, Montreal, Zurich, Switzerland, Beijing and in the Netherlands, as well as in Durham, announced a restructuring that would involve closing and consolidating offices and teams.

All of the company’s branches are part of the restructuring, Erling Ellingsen, director of communications for Funcom, said in an email on Monday, including the studio here. The company is still in the restructuring process, and all details will not be released until that’s final.

Prior to the restructuring, the company had about 200 employees.

“I can assure you, however, that the studio will continue to be a very important part of our business going forward,” Ellingsen said.

Some of the development team from the Montreal studio will be moving to the studio in Durham as part of the restructuring, Ellingsen said.

So far, the Durham studio has mainly housed customer service, quality assistance, billing and community management workers.

The shift will mean an increased focus on game development at the Durham studio, “which we definitely (see as) an exciting move for the studio,” Ellingsen said in the email.

More details won’t be available until the process is completed.

The company said in an announcement the restructuring will allow Funcom to be “better equipped” to execute a strategy of building smaller, high quality multi-player online games, such as the “LEGO Minifigures” game the company said it is developing at its studio in Oslo, Norway.

The restructured company also will focus on its existing multi-player online games such as “Age of Conan,” “Anarchy Online” and “The Secret World,” the statement said.

“Through providing more organizational focus and strengthening the competence of a joint central team that will continue to operate and enhance these games, the company will work toward increasing (its) profitability and continue to provide exiting experiences for existing, returning and new players of these online worlds,” the announcement said.

“The Secret World” came out last summer. In December, Funcom announced it was removing the game’s subscription-fee requirement.

In a Jan. 10 news release after the re-launch, the company said the game sold more than 70,000 units in the prior four weeks for an almost 30 percent increase in sales.