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Sumo Group Is Laying Off 15% Of Its Workforce Globally, Shut Down Timbre Games

Sumo Group Is Laying Off 15% Of Its Workforce Globally, Shut Down Timbre Games

While we are still basking in the euphoria of the plethora of games aired at the recent showcases, the news of layoffs and studio closure by Sumo Group has punctured that momentary excitement.

Sumo Group Is Laying Off 15% Of Its Workforce Globally, Shut Down Timbre Games

“Whilst Sumo has been able to manage through many of the recent difficulties the games industry has faced, we have not been immune, and reshaping operations across the business to better navigate the upcoming challenges expected in the coming months is a path we must now take to ensure the security of the business going forward,” the company wrote in a post published on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

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“The difficult decision to reduce our costs across the business in a number of ways is a direct result of these challenges, and unfortunately will include a reduction in the number of people the business can support.

“Every alternate route to limit the impact to our people is being considered but sadly this process of transformation will affect up to 15% of our people across the Group in Canada, UK, Poland, Czech Republic and India.

“This is an incredibly challenging process to go through for everyone at Sumo and our focus is now on supporting our people and working with our partners on their games as we move forward to ensure we emerge from this difficult time, ready for the future.”

Founded in 2017, it is believed that Sumo Group, which has its headquarters in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom, employs over 1,600 people across 19 studios scattered all over North America, Europe, and Asia. That means around 250 people will be impacted by the layoff.

Sumo Group was acquired by Tencent in January 2022. It is made up of three operating businesses namely; Sumo Digital, Auroch Digital, and Secret Mode. Sumo Digital, which was established in 2003, is one of the largest indie developers of AAA games in the UK.

They have worked with big studios including Sony, Microsoft, 2K, and SEGA as co-development studios. Sumo Digital is made up of 16 game development studios across the UK, India, and Poland.

Timbre Games shut down as part of Sumo Group’s cost-cutting measure

Sumo Group Is Laying Off 15% Of Its Workforce Globally, Shut Down Timbre Games

Although the official statement from Sumo Group did not mention the shuttering of Timber Games, people who work in the studio have confirmed the closure of the studio through social media posts. GameBaba Universe also confirmed that a vast number of employers at the studio now have the #ReadyToWork green badge on their profile pictures on LinkedIn.

Timbre Games is a Sumo Group studio located in Vancouver, Canada. It was founded in 2020, and—according to their LinkedIn page—has 100 associated accounts. That means the bulk of the layoffs from the Sumo Group announcement might have happened at Timbre Games.

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Just two months ago, Joe Nickolls, the VP of Sumo Digital North America and founder of Timbre Games Studio announced that the company inked a deal on their new office in downtown Vancouver.

“We’ve been remote for over 2 years but we are now ready to hybrid our way back to a physical space. This is just a small group of Timbreoos and Atomhawk “hawks” on the roof deck – as we get ready to fully move in,” Nickolls wrote. “The industry has been going through a lot, but I am confident brighter days are ahead for all of us in the game development community.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they would need the office space anymore. Luis, a lead software developer at Timbre Games and founder of ShiftStorm Entertainment announced the closure of the studio.

“It is with a lot of shock and sadness that I share the unexpected news of Timbre Games shutting down by our parent company Sumo Group,” Luis wrote.

“This announcement came with a heavy surprise to all of us, especially since Sumo Group had just signed a three-year lease on our new office and the team was eagerly awaiting the installation of our internet.”

Reactions from impacted employees at Sumo Group

Sumo Group Is Laying Off 15% Of Its Workforce Globally, Shut Down Timbre Games

Close to 24 hours after Sumo Group’s announcement, some employees are still unsure if their position will be impacted by the layoff, signaling a possible collapse of communication within the company.

IT support analyst Abbie Barker wrote, “I don’t know yet whether my position will be affected but I’d like to put my feelers out just in case”. She added that she was open to discussing associate/junior IT support opportunities within the game industry. A similar sentiment was shared by Matthew Chapman, a junior game designer.

“Unfortunately, I come bearing some difficult news,” wrote senior concept artist Lucia Massucco. “Timbre Games, the fantastic studio I’ve been a part of, has closed its doors as part of Sumo Group’s restructuring. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m immensely proud of the work we’ve done together.”

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Timbre Games HR Sydney Huang wrote a lengthy post highlighting the talents and friendships she has made while working at the studio. “It’s a bitter moment for all of us. Over the past 2 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with an incredibly talented team, supporting growth, and fostering a caring and loving environment where creativity thrived.”

Rendering and graphics programmer Keegan van der Laag ditched the niceties and faux appreciations to call out the studio heads for their poor decisions that led to the layoffs, warning that the day of reckoning is fast approaching.

“I’m going to focus on something else: my white-hot rage goes out to those few pulling the purse strings at Sumo Group. You have always had the option, and the chance, to do the right thing, the good thing; you never have. It seems, lately, that nobody with the cold, hard cash—those it hurts least to do so— has been interested in it.

“This industry cannot survive what you’re doing to it, and there will be a reckoning. Enjoy your dividends!”

GameBaba Universe has included the links to the profiles of all the people mentioned in this post to make it easy for anyone with open opportunities to find them.