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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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July 29, 2008 1:37 PM

Game over for 53 Vivendi employees in Issaquah

Posted by Brier Dudley

With the success of "Guitar Hero", "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty", you'd think Vivendi Games wouldn't be cutting employees in its games group.

The group reported a 17.9 percent increase in sales last Thursday.

But the company just notified the state of Washington that it's permanently laying off 53 employees at its Issaquah offices. The cuts will happen Sept. 13-27.

Maybe it has something to do with Vivendi's now-complete acquistion of Activision Blizzard, which may have created some overlap.

I called Vivendi for more details, will update when I hear anything more.

UPDATE: Vivendi still hasn't called back, but I pulled up its proxy statement today that says the Activision merger will lead to consolidations and cost cutting.

It didn't say anything about Issaquah, but mentioned that one of the challenges in making it work is "reducing the costs associated with each company's operations and, in particular, reducing historic losses in the Sierra businesses."

Vivendi set up shop in Issaquah in 2006 when Sierra Online acquired Secret Lair Studios.

Other risks of the merger, disclosed in the proxy, make it clear that job cuts are part of the deal:

"The combined company may not successfully integrate the operations of Activision and Vivendi Games in a timely manner, or at all, and the combined company may not realize the anticipated benefits or synergies of the transaction to the extent, or in the timeframe, anticipated. The anticipated benefits and synergies include cost savings associated with anticipated restructurings and other operational efficiencies, greater economies of scale and revenue enhancement opportunities."

On the positive side, job growth has been strong elsewhere in the region's game industry, so hopefully the 53 people will find something else soon.

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Posted by Bryan Starbuck

4:45 PM, Jul 29, 2008

I am hiring very smart engineers for our startup company. If any Vivendi software engineers want to join a startup company with a consumer product that does data mining, you can see us at

Please email me if you want to learn more.
Bryan Starbuck
TalentSpring, Inc.

Posted by Brier

5:01 PM, Jul 29, 2008

That's being resourceful, Bryan - let me know if you hire a bunch.

Maybe I should add a job board to this thing ...

Posted by Scott at F9

5:21 PM, Jul 29, 2008

So sorry to hear about this. But there are other opportunities afoot.

Foundation 9/Amaze Entertainment in Kirkland is hiring for quite a number of open positions. Anybody impacted by this staffing adjustment can forward their resume to me at:

I'll be glad to review and route if/as appropriate.



Posted by Amber Green

7:50 AM, Jul 30, 2008

I was part of the layoffs at Sierra in 2000 after Vivendi had aquired it. The "historic losses in the Sierra businesses" seem to have started when Ken and Roberta sold the business in the late 90's, and every year or so after that Sierra seemed to be bought, sold, or in the middle of one reorg or victim to shady practices by the new business. Sad to see it happen, since it was such a major player in early gaming, and a great place to work for the most part. I'm surprised to even see the Sierra logo on game packaging anymore...

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