Oslo-listed Funcom plans 20% staff reduction

29 September 2009 – Oslo-listed computer game developer and publisher Funcom NV (OSL: FUNCOM) unveiled today plans to reduce its staff by 20% as part of its cost-cutting programme.

The reductions, which will include forced leave, will affect mostly the company’s Norwegian unit.

The reductions may seem unusual in light of the fact that they come less than a month after Funcom opened a new studio in Montreal. But as the report notes, the company’s intention was not to increase its numbers dramatically but to move its Norwegian employees to Quebec, where it could take advantage of the notoriously generous tax breaks offered by the province, writes Escapistmagazine.com. That, coupled with “generally lower pay levels,” means the move could see payroll expenses at Funcom cut in half. The company has “invited” its 220 employees to relocate to Canada and says it will hire another 100-150 people for the Montreal studio over the next 18 months.

Meanwhile, the development of the Age of Conan expansion pack and its preparations for launch in Korea will continue as planned, as will the preparations for the limited beta of its first free-to-play Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Game, scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter, Funcom said.

The development of The Secret World will be extended by some months due to the initiatives with even more focus on ensuring the delivery of a game that is fully in line with the high expectations, the company added.

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