First Radical Entertainment closes, shortly after Rockstar Vancouver packs up its bags and leaves for tax friendly Toronto, then Capcom Vancouver laid off 20 employees and now Microsoft Vancouver has laid off 35 employees. The layoffs are a direct result of cancelling two projects.
Microsoft has stated that they are not closing the Vancouver branch but the layoffs are a direct result of the studio cancelling two titles. There will be no further development on Microsoft Flight, and an interactive Kinect TV project being developed in cooperation with Sesame Street and National Geographic.
This is another blow to Vancouver’s gaming industry, which of late is feeling the wrath of a shifting gaming industry and our provinces non-competitive industry tax structure. The Mayor has recognized that this is an issue and vows to support this. However, this should have been recognized years ago when companies where starting to choose Montreal over Vancouver to open up shop. A proactive, rather than a reactive approach was necessary.
All the blame can’t be placed on our tax credits. Part of it is just the gradual maturation of the video game industry. As the industry continues to mature and evolve more and more smaller studios will be consolidated into larger ones. This happens in all business, the video game industry is no different.