On Monday, it was revealed that Bungie had undergone layoffs, and while the company has yet to make the extent of the layoffs clear, reports claim it was around 8% of the company, or approximately 100 people laid off.
Now on Friday more news from Forbes’ Paul Tassi, who’s been the original reporter for most of the week’s news reveals that according to a source, Bungie tried other avenues to avoid layoffs, but cutting executive compensation was not on the table.
“Management said other levers were looked at to avoid layoffs. When employees asked if one lever was executive compensation, they were told no, and that it would not happen at the company.” said the report.
Since its original publication, Bungie provided a statement to Forbes which says that the studio’s chief executive officer, Pete Parsons and “some other executives previously forfeited annual bonuses before layoffs.”
Though we don’t know how much those bonuses accumulated to, and forfeiting a bonus is still different than an actual pay cut.
Tassi’s report also claims that instead of blaming Sony, those still left at Bungie are thankful for the buyout, considering that if the buyout hadn’t happened and the studio was still independent, things could be even more dire.
Those with better memories though might be wondering why these layoffs have happened at all, even without executive compensation being cut, considering that part of Sony acquiring Bungie came with Sony providing $1.2 billion that was meant to be used for incentives to keep employees around.
It was essentially a fund to be used to avoid a mass exodus of employees with incentives that could potentially include things like higher pay, or anything that just made Bungie a better place to be at.
Where’s that money gone then? Well according to Tassi’s report, it’s long spent, though clearly not on keeping employees around, and instead it’s been used to buyout Bungie shares from employees, which then landed with Sony.
The last added bit of context regarding the layoffs is the least surprising, in that employees are “extremely angry with leadership now,” and that they’re making this unhappiness known in internal meetings.
This last point also implies that the layoffs have not effected any members of upper management, and the people whose pay couldn’t be cut to save anyone’s jobs.
When Bungie released a statement regarding the layoffs, three days after the news broke, it admitted that it knows it has lost “a lot” of player trust.
Despite that, the rest of the statement provided no real way to get that trust back, and from the sounds of the statement, and Tassi’s reporting, the entirety of upper management is relying heavily on the belief that The Final Shape will right the ship.
If it fails to do so, and Bungie’s c-suite stays ignorant to its own failings, we could potentially see even more unnecessary layoffs.
This is such an unfortunate and dire state for a studio that by all rights should be off to the races, with Sony now at its back.
The ship that is Bungie definitely needs to be course corrected, though by the look of things it’s doubtful that even a successful launch for The Final Shape will be able to do that.
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