With layoffs abundant throughout 2023, it comes as little surprise to see another company struggling to keep its employees in this post-pandemic industry downturn. 2022 was the first year where mobile games revenue fell, and the consequences are still echoing through game makers everywhere.
The latest company seeing a downturn is Thought Pennies, a game studio developing its first game with a focus on the role-playing genre and social storytelling. Reportedly, "several employees" have just been laid off.
Waiting for a game
Thought Pennies was founded in 2020 by Tim Ernst, who has previously worked on games in the Star Wars franchise, Kingdoms of Camelot, Game of War: Fire Age and more. He brought former BioWare and Pixelberry Studios writer Jennifer Hepler on in 2021 as lead writer, and she has since been promoted to writing director.
Other employees haven’t been so fortunate. Art director Ken Capelli, producer Kristen Halloran and design director Allison Carrier appear to be among those laid off, with their LinkedIn accounts suggesting they left the company this month.
With no details on Thought Pennies’ first game beyond its social RPG nature, it has to be asked: How much longer will we wait for an announcement?
Thought Pennies is only the latest in a long list of companies letting employees go this year. The trend began as early as January when 284 Unity employees were axed and a massive 12,000 departed from Google.
In February, Tilting Point let go of 14% of its workforce as the company looked to restructure. May marked another 600 Unity jobs lost - well before the Runtime Fee fiasco - and August saw FunPlus subsidiary Imagendary Studios reduced to a "skeleton crew".
This list is unfortunately by no means exhaustive.