Aspyr Media confirms layoffs

The failing economy has struck close to home for Mac gamers: Famed Mac and PC game publisher Aspyr Media has confirmed layoffs of staff members at its Austin, Texas headquarters. Aspyr did not announce how many employees were affected by the layoffs, but sources close to the company put the number at more than 30.

“The current economic environment has forced Aspyr to make some tough decisions. The most difficult of which has been a reduction in staff and the loss of some very talented, valuable team members and friends,” said Aspyr spokesperson Amity Ponsetti. “We have taken these steps in an effort to restructure to better meet the challenges ahead. No additional staff reductions are planned or expected, and operations will continue without interruption on all titles scheduled to ship in 2009 and beyond.”

Aspyr was founded in the mid-1990s and first struck success with a string of popular Macintosh game conversions. Over the years they’ve brought highly successful franchises to the Mac including The Sims, Call of Duty and a variety of games from Id Software like Quake IV and Doom III and most recently, Enemy Territory Quake Wars. The company also develops games for the PC and other platforms, including the Mac/PC edition of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

Recently, Aspyr has diversified to include games and software toys for the iPhone. Their iPhone products include a game called Buggled, a contact app called FriendZoo, and a virtual voodoo doll called Voodude.

Major and minor players alike in the video and computer game industry have announced cutbacks, consolidations and layoffs. Last week, Electronic Arts (EA) announced plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce—about 1,000 people, worldwide—by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009. Midway, whose stable of games include Mortal Kombat and arcade classics like Defender and Robotron, announced last week a 25 percent staff reduction—more than 100 employees are losing their jobs.

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