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Vivendi Games Lays Off 350, To Close Sierra Offices 65

An anonymous reader writes "Vivendi Universal Games has laid off 350 people and closed its Bellevue, Wa. office (formerly Sierra), according to a report on CNN/Money. In addition to the shuttering of Sierra, say goodbye to the Hoyle card games, which may not have been popular with hardcore gamers, but were beloved by mothers and other casual players." The article also notes: "The job cuts follow the May shutdown of a pair of longtime [Vivendi-owned] development studios... Papyrus Studios (makers of the company's 'NASCAR' games for years) and Impressions Games (makers of strategy titles, such as 'Zeus', 'Cleopatra' and 'Lords of the Realm III'.)", However: "Blizzard Entertainment, VU Games' top earning developer, was not affected by the restructuring."
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Vivendi Games Lays Off 350, To Close Sierra Offices

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  • Blizzard (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TwistedGreen ( 80055 ) <twistedgreen@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:22PM (#9491029)
    They had better not have been affected. They're a cornerstore of the gaming world.

    But then again, so was Sierra and look where that got them. I guess, in the end, the quality of game you make really doesn't make too much of a difference. I'm just glad they're finally laying the burnt-out shell that was Sierra to rest.
  • by taosk8r ( 56641 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:26PM (#9491064) Homepage Journal
    As a longtime D2 fanatic, I must admit that when the subject for this article popped up on my nifty little Trillian RSS feed reader, I was feeling some trepidation.

    Fortunately my concerns seem somewhat mollified. I gotta admit, I am one of those that still holds a grudge against Blizz for killing off (for the most part) BnetD.. Such a useful program, and one that is still used today by a few here and there to host servers to run some of the excellent mod options that are available for this game. OTOH, D2 remains a great game, one that some would argue revived the whole RPG genre, and I definately give blizz props for pioneering the first and still to this day pretty much only free service for playing online. I only wish more companies had followed thier lead, because no matter how much I yearn to play many of the available MMORPGs out there, I'll never commit myself to paying a monthly fee to play one.
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:40PM (#9491643)
    I thought their home base was always in Northern California?

    Still... you gotta wonder... How can there be articles one month proclaiming how the video game industry takes in more money than Hollywood and is stealing viewers from TELEVISION, but yet everybody is "losing" money and firing people left and right.

    Almost like the publishers are churning the staff so they don't have to pay real salaries and can keep hiring kids outta school at basement prices to work on the revitalization of Leisure Suit Larry...
  • Re:Byebye, Sierra (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Teknogeek ( 542311 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:49AM (#9492050) Journal
    Amusingly enough, it looks like France [] will be saving our asses this time.
  • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @04:20AM (#9492860) Homepage

    Everybody should care because the DMCA is a very effective weapon to stop people from being able to express themselves freely. Just ask Dmitry Sklyarov [] or revisit the article describing how easy it was to illustrate how much power ISPs posess to stifle legal copying. Your position as stated takes an entirely too narrow view on things; that because one instance eventually did not result in killing a project, your view suggests that we can afford to dismiss the situtation. There is a larger more significant harm going on here that needs to be properly acknowledged and the public needs to be educated on what harm has occurred because of the DMCA [].

  • by dtolman ( 688781 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @09:51AM (#9494306) Homepage
    While its sad that the last remnants of Sierra have died, its really been dead for a long time before that. Pretty much since the buyout - ever since then its just been another soulless EA clone. Back in the 80's, it really stood out for making you feel like you knew the developers - they used to have photos of their offices and their developers in all the catalogs that would come with their games.

    Yeah, its hard to believe that just 10 years ago, Sierra used to be one of the most powerful, and prolific companies in the computer game industry - they co-owned the adventure genre with LucasArts, and with the buyout of Dynamix they also had a lot of Sim and Sports titles also...

    Ah... for the days of Al Lowe and Roberta Williams. When instead of Sim, every game seemed to have the word Quest in the title. sniff.

  • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @10:27AM (#9494633)
    Vivendi has closed the doors on Sierra, but Sierra ran itself into the ground years ago. I'd like to see a company acquire the Sierra line and make Sierra adventure games again. It's obvious that Vivendi had no intentions of doing that sort of thing anyways. I hope they let someone else give it a go. Maybe we could eventually see Space Quest 7. I've always wondered how they would work that considering a Space Quest 7 was already established in Space Quest 4.
  • Re:Byebye, Sierra (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @10:27AM (#9494634) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, Ubisoft seems like a pretty cool company. But just so you know, like most big corporations today, they've got offices all over the world [].

    I sincerely hope that the French government doesn't try to strangle their games industry like they did their movie industry. But if they do, it's good to know that Ubisoft could easily shut down or move their France-based offices.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor