Up to 160 jobs go as gaming firm closes NZ studio

By Aimee Shaw

Michel Guillemot, chief executive officer of Gameloft. Photo / Bloomberg
Michel Guillemot, chief executive officer of Gameloft. Photo / Bloomberg

New Zealand's largest video gaming studio, Gameloft, has closed down costing 160 jobs.

New Zealand Game Developers Association chairperson Stephen Knightly confirmed the closure, adding that other developing studios have reached out to the employees with offers of employment.

Knightly said the decision to close the Auckland-based studio was likely to have been driven by the offshore head office rather than a reflection of New Zealand's video gaming industry.

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"When Gameloft originally set up in Auckland six years ago, our expectations were that they would grow to become maybe a 50 or 60 person team. The fact that they grew to over 150 people shows how well the team performed," he said.

"It is sad news for the great game developers of Gameloft New Zealand."

In 2015, the French-owned video games developer shut seven studios worldwide, including locations in Tokyo, New York City, and Seattle. However, reportedly opened a new office in Nigeria last week.

Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot told UK-based MVC magazine in June that several development studios were becoming 'unprofitable'.

"In order to return to profitability in the second half of 2015, and to past profitability levels in the medium term, Gameloft has initiated an ambitious cost reduction program since the start of the year and in the process closed seven development studios that had become unprofitable," Guillemot said.

Country Friends, a game developed by Gameloft.
Country Friends, a game developed by Gameloft.

Gameloft New Zealand developed several games including Zoo Rescue, My Little Pony, and The Littlest Pet Shop.

The French mobile developer is currently listed on the French Stock Exchange.

The exact cause of closure has yet to be confirmed.

Game development is one of the country's fastest growing export sectors, with local industry revenues growing from $20 million in 2012 to $79 million in 2015.

- NZ Herald

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