Krome Studios to close doors on Monday, contractors will continue work

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While attendees enjoy the second and final day of the Game Connect: Asia Pacific conference held on the Gold Coast which aims to inspire local developers in these tough times, news is flooding out that just nearby, a major Brisbane based studio is on the verge of collapse.

More troubling and credible reports concerning Krome Studios are currently spilling onto Twitter as well as into our comments areas, and if these new details along with the additional reports received yesterday relating to the Emergent agreement are true, then there is considerable cause for concern for what was once Australia's largest game development studio.

The rumours began with more drastic job cuts today (confirmed to be hitting both the remaining Melbourne and Brisbane studio), but it seems to be a lot more serious for the company than that.

The current report is that Krome Studios have let go of all remaining staff, including those in their base studio in Brisbane, and will be closing their doors on Monday. Some staff will be rehired as contractors to finish some remaining work.

The latest developments at Krome Studios ends a tumultuous twelve month period for the company which had started to dwindle down as the global financial crisis hit after having just reached a milestone of 400 employees.

Beginning with the axing of 60 employees in November 2009, the company shed an additional 50 employees in April this year. Four months later in August, an undisclosed but estimated 100+ employees were further let go from Krome, marking the end for the Adelaide branch of Krome Studios.

While admirable attempts to save Krome Studios Adelaide proved unsuccessful, the closure of the both the Adelaide and Melbourne arms of Krome Studios will mark the final end for the Ratbag Games and Melbourne House legacy. Krome Studios acquired the iconic 80's games developer, Melbourne House, in late 2006 from previous owner, Atari, while a studio was opened in Adelaide by Krome to accomodate the remaining Ratbag Games staff who were left unemployed after Midway closed down the Powerslide developer in late 2005.

Comments

Anonymous's picture

It was November, it was about 60 people. And obviously they weren't all QA. Everyone who was employed at Krome now isn't, so I don't think anyone is being "overlooked".

Anonymous's picture

Krome had multiple rounds of QA redundancies that were overlooked before the mass layoffs.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, just for the record i'd just like to also confirm the guy saying 'the first 60 were in November' is wrong. I was made redundant before November 2009 (and i wasn't QA either).

Anonymous's picture

I'm aware of the redundancies in November...I was talking about the guys that were let go prior to that (I was there, this isn't second hand information) I'm pretty sure it was around August and (at least in our studio) it was QA that took the brunt in that 'round'.

It seems they have been overlooked after all doesn't it?

Anonymous's picture

this is really sad for the foot soldiers who always get turned into redundancy fodder when the generals go on an ego-bender on their misconceived projects,
blade-kitten ? wannabe manga-crap - pah!
ty tiger ?- soul-less puerile dreck!
and no-one wanted to tell the bosses so, because they were scared to lose their job or status,

for everyone who lost their job, before you get plastered, get the cv's out there first, and if its within your capability check out the international scene, there are always opportunities abroad.

Anonymous's picture

Against better judgment, I've posted the first part of a blog on this at:

http://selfinducedcoma.com/

Some people might find it interesting, others, won't.

Anonymous's picture

I'm sorry. You need to learn how to, use. Commas, and full. Stops and apostrophes'.

Seriously though...I think my brain just imploded.

Anonymous's picture

Krome's House of Cards, Part 2 up at:

http://selfinducedcoma.com/

And part 1 has had an edit to address some of the readability issues.

Anonymous's picture

Ok, 80% of that has nothing to do with Krome.. Maybe you should stop now..

Anonymous's picture

It's amazing how perceptive you are.

Anonymous's picture

His blog wasn't that far from the truth...

Anonymous's picture

Blog summary - i wasn't there, I don't know anything, but I predicted the GFC and then add fifty "I know" and "I think" statements - blah blah blah I am great blah blah

Seriously, I think this must be a piss-take troll effort, the punctuation!?!?!

Anonymous's picture

Wow, someone's nerve got hit... and, what about the punctuation? I've read grammatically worse on the web and it seems fine to me.

Anonymous's picture

I appreciate your desire to keep things clean, but most of those you have deleted have been fine. If you're going to over-moderate, there's not going to be much point anyone posting at all.

souri's picture

The comments that were deleted were from a subthread about another article which was rapidly turning into slinging match. The comments that I've left behind pretty much sums up the thoughts of both parties, so I feel that subthread has met a proper conclusion. Unless the subthread can be swayed into a discussion on the finer points of the article, I don't see any further point in it continuing frivolously about the author, his writing etc.

Anonymous's picture

If someone makes an ass of themselves by way of that rediculous blog link/post that adds *nothing* to the debate then you can hardly blame people for being pissed when you delete their posts but leave the original.

Anonymous's picture

Censorship is a slippery slope.

Anonymous's picture

One comment to make, and sure it's kind of academic now, but here goes..

I was surprised by the order of some of the redundancies...by which i mean getting rid of some game team people second after QA.
Now i understand that there were simply too many people for too few projects. But it's quite strange IMO to be getting rid of game team people whilst you maintain what i would call luxury positions, by which i mean production/personal assistants, office assistants whose main job might only be writing up internal blogs etc. (no slight on them personally, but it's hardly a position integral to the company is it)..
Even some HR people you would think would be expendable way before the game teams, who could still be used to try and dig the company out of a hole, developing stuff to pitch to publishers or self publish.
Now i understand it's HR that makes the decisions, so that last bit is never gonna happen, they're never gonna volunteer to walk the plank. Still, though, for me it's an indication of taking the easy path, avoiding the hard decisions that would have actually given the company the best shot at having a future.

Anonymous's picture

Yep HR is the safest position in any company. They'll always be the last to go, if they go at all.

Anonymous's picture

Traditionally, HR is one of the first heads on the block when it comes to downsizing. Along with marketing, accounting administration and any other 'support' roles not integral to the production of the good or service are made obsolete pretty damn quick.

To address the previous poster's comment about administration staff - you are revealing how truly little you know about the profession. A personal slight against me and a clear disrespect of the administration is unfortunately endemic of a lot of industries, but especially smarts coming from otherwise intelligent developers. In my view, administration often works just as hard as the developers do, albeit in an auxiliary capacity. In my personal experience, I was matching the (non-Krome) developers' hours 1:1 during our perpetual crunch and tried to help anyone who needed assistance - it would pain me to think that I all I was thought of was the airhead who ordered the soda or "wrote internal blogs".

Anonymous's picture

Proportionally, more HR people were let go than developers. As to be expected. There was one HR staff member remaining when Krome closed its doors. There are a certain amount of admin staff needed to keep the place running. Granted they could have let more go, but they also should have let more developers go. It's not like they had a shortage of developers to produce work, so the whole debate is really beside the point.

Anonymous's picture

Let go or left?

Anonymous's picture

Oh stop it. You've missed the point, probably on purpose.. I never said admin don't work hard, aren't valuable etc. Merely that in a crisis such as this the average game team person could help the company more than the average admin dude..Surely one can admit that without it going to the extreme of all admin= useless. I'm not saying all admin, this is specific to Krome. I'm not even saying Krome admin were useless, they weren't. They were just tasked with mickey mouse stuff. So were the game teams a lot of the time, but they didn't have to be..

Anonymous's picture

I worked at Krome back few years ago, and I'd say they had too many people yet in 2008. We had overcrowded meetings in blue room because other rooms didn't fit.
You may blame management for not getting new projects, but the fact they had too many people over the years means they tried to avoid redundancies as much as they could.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, that's a fair point. This is more about strategy once the situation really became dire though (with redundancies unavoidable). You would still think that the game team members would be the people who could help the company most, and therefore the most valuable.

Anonymous's picture

Without naming the project (in case it is still ongoing), what happened with the game taken from Adelaide and given to Brisbane just before Adelaides closure? Knowing the nature of the title it seems like it would have been a fairly simple one to finish.

Anonymous's picture

It might continue, it might not, who knows. Totally up in the air atm

Anonymous's picture

It's called the games industry.

You didn't decide to develop games for a living in Australia and expect a steady long term job especially at a company like Krome who lets face it haven't exactly released anything good.

With our Aus dollar so high, work coming in from international sources will quickly dry up too as it is starting to in all industries.

I gave up on the dream of games development a long time ago. Stick to application development if you want a far higher salary in a more stable industry plus there's a lot more work around. :)

Anonymous's picture

...i would say that Dev studios in Australia are always "on point", and aren't given a break, sometimes they deserve it, most times really, but there are exceptions.

when it even gets a little tight, they get smashed and broke, and dropped by publishers,
such is the capitalist ethos, and what love does come from the government in funding, only gets siphoned off by a few choice companies, ...cough...Auran....cough...RIP....

On top of that it seems Australia still doesn't have a culture of independent creativity that you would expect from a country boasting such affluence, liberty, sunshine and big skies and an ethos of leisure. Melbourne used to have it, - creative types in Oz dont show much inspiration which i find baffling... well, if there are any good ideas there, they dont raise their heads often, and well... it doesn't matter, they'll get ignored by the license-money-safe attitudes of the studio bosses.

How many times was everyone told, "if you get this project done, the publisher will grant us free rein on the next project, our own IP" ...etc

The games industry in Oz is not a heavy weight hitter, and Krome were a shining example, lacklustre games, and poor vision.

The foot soldiers were not to blame, they have always been at the mercy of their bosses and a cut-throat industry wide attitude, a two faced one, that always offers the promise of gold and creative vistas but you chase these things whilst spinning on the spot on some lame franchise hamster wheel.

Anonymous's picture

Last I heard, you still get a poor score in high school if you do any artistic subjects. Perhaps if the government would actually encourage people to pursue an artistic career?

...Hah, who am I kidding? As if that would ever happen in our lifetimes.