Reuters and other outlets have reported recently that both Microsoft and Sony will be closing some of their major gaming divisions in early 2009.
Up until now, no one has really been sure if the recent economic crisis would have any adverse effects on the gaming industry. Game sales held strong through late November and some were toting the industry as “recession proof”. However, in recent weeks even this juggernaut has shown signs of weakness as sales have dropped and we’ve seen the closure of many well-known development studios — Factor 5, Free Radical and Midway’s Austin Studio are just a few of the most recently announced.
Earlier this week Reuters reported that Sony was expecting to lay off over 8,000 employees and close what they called some “major divisions”. The report included Japanese factories in the list of closures.
Now The Independent is reporting that Microsoft, too, plans to cut upwards of 15,000 employees from its global work force. Microsoft has already closed its Ensemble Studios (developers of the upcoming game, Halo Wars), but that was never officially attributed to the current economic crisis. There are no indications yet as to which areas of the Microsoft community will see the worst of the cuts.
With Americans and the global community at large hunkering down and saving every penny during these trying times, it seems that even the mighty gaming industry is not immune to recession.