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Bellevue game studio ArenaNet, developer of ‘Guild Wars,’ lays off 143

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 27, 2019

A Bellevue, Washington, video game studio has announced layoffs Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. ArenaNet, the creator of “Guild Wars” said revenue is down and will cut its workforce by 143 employees. (BUSINESS WIRE)
A Bellevue, Washington, video game studio has announced layoffs Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. ArenaNet, the creator of “Guild Wars” said revenue is down and will cut its workforce by 143 employees. (BUSINESS WIRE)
By Benjamin Romano Seattle Times

ArenaNet, a long-tenured Bellevue video game studio responsible for the hit online role-playing game series “Guild Wars,” is laying off 143 people.

The company said the cuts were part of an “ongoing restructuring” of South Korean parent company NCSoft’s game-development and publishing business. A spokesman would not confirm the number of employees in the Bellevue studio, which opened in 2000 as the region’s video-game industry gained momentum. Industry reports peg the number of workers there at about 400.

A layoff notice filed with the state on Wednesday provided the number of layoffs and said separations would begin Friday.

NCSoft West CEO Songyee Yoon told employees the company’s “live game business revenue is declining as our franchises age, delays in development on PC and mobile have created further drains against our revenue projects, while our operating costs in the west have increased,” according to an email reported by the games news site Kotaku. “Where we are is not sustainable, and is not going to set us up for future success.”

Yoon said costs cuts were coming “across the organization.”

ArenaNet said it is providing “several months of pay and benefits coverage as severance for laid off employees and plans a recruiting event next week with some 30 local companies.

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