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Layoffs Hit Disney-Owned Social Gaming Studio Three Melons

Disney confirmed to Gamasutra on Tuesday that it is conducting layoffs in its Disney Interactive Media Group, with one source saying Playdom's Buenos Aires social game studio was the target for around 30 layoffs.
Disney has made it clear that it is shifting its gaming focus away from console-focused packaged products and more towards the rapidly-growing social and online space. But apparently that doesn't mean that Disney's social gaming division is immune to layoffs, as the media and entertainment conglomerate confirmed to Gamasutra on Tuesday that it has conducted layoffs within its Disney Interactive Media Group division. "As part of our ongoing strategy to best position the Disney Interactive Media Group for success in digital media, we continually evaluate and refine our business," a Disney rep told Gamasutra in a statement. "As part of this process we've made targeted layoffs within the division." While the rep didn't get into specifics, a source who wished to remain anonymous told Gamasutra this afternoon that the layoffs were underway today, and taking place at Playdom's Buenos Aires, Argentina studio, Three Melons. The source said "30 people and counting" were affected, but parent Disney did not confirm that figure. Disney's Interactive Media Group includes not only social gaming, but also online gaming, console gaming and mobile gaming. As of press time, the rep had yet to reply whether the layoffs go beyond Three Melons. Playdom announced in March 2010 that it acquired Three Melons, developer of games including the Facebook soccer game Bola!. Just a few months later, Disney in turn acquired Playdom for up to $763.2 million in an effort to gain ground in the burgeoning social gaming space. Disney did not detail what the fate of Three Melons would be after the layoffs. In March 2010, the studio employed 45 employees. Disney recently closed down its internal studio Black Rock, developer of racing games Pure and Split/Second, as well as Turok reboot developer Propaganda Games. The company confirmed widespread layoffs in its games division early this year.

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