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Report: Disney Interactive Sees Significant Layoffs

Reports trickling out of game publisher Disney Interactive indicate notable layoffs at the company, with up to half of the studio's 700 employees potentially affected.
Reports trickling out of game publisher Disney Interactive indicate severe layoffs at the company, including at its Austin-based Junction Point Studios and its Los Angeles headquarters. "Sources familiar with the situation" told CNBC that a "significant portion" of the division's employees have been let go, citing "some insiders" as reporting the cutbacks may have affected up to half of the studio's 700 employees. Schell Games' Bryan Cash was among the first to tweet about the layoffs earlier today, offering "condolences to those folks laid off from Junction Point." Other developers have been tweeting similar sentiments, and telling Gamasutra they've heard reports of layoffs at the company. When Gamasutra requested an official comment on these reports from a studio spokesperson, we were told she could not comment because she had been "affected" by the layoffs. Despite these reports, Gamasutra has been told that Disney studio Junction Point has not been closed entirely, and that designer Warren Spector is still with the company. Spector helmed Disney Interactive's latest release, Junction Point's Disney Epic Mickey, which sold 1.3 million copies in the U.S. during the holiday season. Disney's game publishing division has seen quite a few shake-ups since purchasing social game maker Playdom for $763 million last July. Playdom CEO John Pleasants was named co-president of the division in October, shortly after the departure of longtime president Steve Wadsworth. Just last week, in a further sign it was moving away from big-budget console titles, the publisher shut down Propaganda Games after a lukewarm reception for the studio's recently released Tron: Evolution project. [UPDATE: According to a statement given to outlets including Austin360.com, the Junction Point layoffs "were fairly minimal and it is part of a larger restructuring at Disney Interactive Studios, which is part of Disney Interactive Media Group." The company did not disclose the exact number of employees laid off.]

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