Playtika to lay off over 600 staff; studios at risk, three games canned

 

Over 600 staff are being axed at Playtika, the company has told us.

After a difficult year the company has decided to reduce its workforce by 15%, and will do so by “balancing teams and redeploying talent, winding down non-core initiatives and consolidating studios for greater efficiency,” according to an email sent to staff today by CEO Robert Antokol.

“Evaluation of new game concepts” will be centralised at June’s Journey developer Wooga, and three “current titles” have been removed from the company’s product pipeline, the email says.

We have asked for more more detail on which games are being canned and which studios will be consolidated, and will update this story if we receive any further information.

It’s been an eventful year for Playtika. It began with the company effectively putting itself up for sale and the launch and swift closure of Wooga title Switchcraft. Over the summer, private equity firm Joffre Capital almost bought majority stake, but the deal fell through.

More recently, it closed Best Fiends studio Seriously and moved the game’s production to teams in Israel and Poland, while also finding time to invest $25m in Turkish start-up Ace Games, a new studio founded by Hakan Bas, cofounder of Toy Blast and Toon Blast maker Peak Games.

We spoke to Playtika COO Shlomi Aizenberg about its turbulent year last month, in which he confirmed that after its $600m deal for Helsinki studio Reworks, a big chunk of the game is now being run out of Israel.

It’s been a rough time for Playtika’s stock, too, which was trading at $17-18 this time last year, but at the time of writing is just over $8. Playtika went public in January 2021 at $27 per share, which valued the company at $11.1bn.

CEO Robert Antokol’s email to staff is in full below, and was provided by Playtika’s PR agency.

Dear Playtikans,

The news I share with you today is difficult. After intense deliberation, we have decided to reduce our workforce by about 15 percent, saying goodbye to wonderful and talented colleagues and friends. This decision has not come easy, yet we think it necessary to best position Playtika for the future.

As we assess the current environment and look toward the future, Playtika must return to our roots of excellence through agility, efficiency, creativity and being obsessed with winning to deliver the most fun forms of mobile entertainment to our players. We will begin achieving this by balancing teams and redeploying talent, winding down non-core initiatives and consolidating studios for greater efficiency and a stronger focus on optimization. Evaluation of new game concepts will be centralized through our creative team at Wooga, and three current titles have been removed from the pipeline with priority toward strategic high-growth potential new games investments.

Supporting One Another

Starting today and through the course of this week, transitioning team members will have one-on-one conversations with their manager, and details, including how we are supporting you, will be shared.

Any time significant change takes place, it affects us all. As we work through the logistics and emotions of today, I’ve asked each senior leader to assemble their teams, investing time in individual conversations and to answer your questions.

Forever Part of Playtika’s Story

Thanks to you, Playtika has a strong balance sheet, consistent results, cutting edge technology, a diversified portfolio of top-ranked games and a wonderful community of active and loyal players. We are not resting.

Our unrivaled reputation for delivering superior in-game experiences and scaling mobile games to global dominance will continue to make us a technology and entertainment powerhouse.

You will always be part of Playtika’s rich history and bright future.

Let’s take extra care of each other this week.


Robert