Thousands of game developers based in Russia have lost their jobs over the last month, according to the latest report by Forbes Russia. This is a result of business liquidations and mass layoffs that have occurred at top studios, including MYTONA, Plarium, and Game Insight.
The Day Before
Forbes’ article is based on information provided by anonymous sources at certain studios or within the Russian games industry in general. Most of the official representatives of the companies cited in the report declined to comment on the matter or didn’t respond to the outlet’s request.
However, a bleak trend in the market is evident. According to Owlcat Games producer Max Fomichev, around 2000-2500 people have lost their jobs over the past three to four weeks.
What companies have been affected so far?
- MYTONA (headquartered in Singapore, founded in Yakutsk, Russia). In late February, The Day Before publisher notified employees that it was switching to “economy mode,” suspending bonus payments, putting the hiring process on pause, and stopping renting offices. MYTONA also asked staff about their relocation plans.
- Playgendary (based in Cyprus). The mobile developer has reportedly fired 150-200 employees out of its total headcount of 500-600 people between February and May 2022. Last month, the company also closed its office in Saint Petersburg, offering current staff to relocate.
“Now it’s easier to lay off people and then get new ones abroad,” game producer Vlad Mishchenko told Forbers. “Toxicity is another factor: banks, game stores, organizers of large industrial and gaming events have been looking at companies’ ties with Russia in recent months, avoiding such relationships.”
- 101XP (global publisher of online games founded in Russia). The company laid off dozens of its employees. According to an anonymous source, 101XP called it a “restructuring.” The publisher, however, doesn’t plan to close its Russia-based subsidiaries entirely.
- Green Grey (head office is located in Cyprus). The mobile publisher and developer unilaterally terminated contracts with partner studios Infusion Games, NPU Games, and Developers Unknown (it invested a total of $7.3 million in them last year). Green Grey founder Dima Morozov told Forbes that the company had to “change its plans after February 24.” He also noted that these studios continue to operate independently, except for NPU Games, which “will split into separate projects.”
- Game Insight (headquartered in Lithuania, founded in Russia). Last week, game development outlet App2Top reported that 600 people lost their jobs following the company’s self-liquidation of its Russian entity. Lithuania’s decision to declare Russia a terrorist state is cited among the reasons behind Game Insight’s exit from the country. However, the mobile publisher’s executives didn’t clarify the decision to employees, while local leadership was unaware of the liquidation.
- Plarium (headquartered in Israel). Last week, the RAID: Shadow Legends developer closed its office in Krasnodar, Russia, which employed around 500 people (via Kommersant).
- Friday’s Games (mobile studio known for co-developing Farmscapes with Playrix). On June 21, Natalya Popova, the company’s head of development, wrote that almost 50 people have lost their jobs, including programmers, game designers, artists, and QA testers.