As first reported by Kotaku, it seems that CD Projekt’s online store, GOG, has laid off at least a dozen employees in the last week. The news comes in the wake of massive layoffs at other studios, no doubt heightening concerns among both staff and fans that another big layoff could occur. Fortunately, in this case, it seems to have been a far smaller instance with comparatively few employees affected.
Is GOG in Financial Trouble, or Just Restructuring?
Fans excited for Cyberpunk 2077 probably don’t need to worry about this latest news from CD Projekt just yet. The staff who were unfortunate enough to be laid off came entirely from GOG, CD Projekt’s digital store. The development team has seen its own departures in recent weeks, but no layoffs. (Indeed, the team now consists of over 400 people!) In a statement made to Kotaku, CD Projekt said; “Letting people go is never easy. We have been rearranging certain teams since October 2018, effecting in closing around a dozen of positions last week. At the same time, since the process started we have welcomed nearly twice as many new team members, and currently hold 20 open positions.”
Kotaku also spoke with at least one of the recently laid-off staff. According to them, the reason for layoffs was financial in nature; “We were told it’s a financial decision,” they said; “GOG’s revenue couldn’t keep up with growth, the fact that we’re dangerously close to being in the red has come up in the past few months, and the market’s move towards higher [developer] revenue shares has, or will, affect the bottom line as well. I mean, it’s just an odd situation, like things got really desperate really fast. I know that February was a really bad month, but January on the other hand was excellent. We were in the middle of a general restructuring, moving some teams around, not unprecedented. But layoffs that big have never happened before.”
While it’s always unfortunate to see layoffs occur, GOG doesn’t seem to be in dire straits just yet. As stated by the company, they have actually seen a net gain of employees, despite the recent departures. What appears to be going on is more of an internal restructure, most likely to shift GOG to focus on different areas and try to bolster the platform’s profitability. CD Projekt may well be looking to bolster profitability in general in the lead-up to the release of Cyberpunk 2077. More evidence is beginning to point to the possibility of Thronebreaker coming to the Nintendo Switch, for example, which could be one method to boost revenue. The studio still has yet to announce a release date for their highly-anticipated next game after all; there’s no guarantee that it will even release this year.