Big Fish announces staff cuts, refocused strategy

Big Fish Games, Aristocrat’s social gaming arm, said it is cutting around 15 percent of its workforce as part of its realignment strategy, according to GeekWire.

In a staff memo sent to employees, Big Fish president and managing director Jeff Karp said the cuts was part of its “leaner” strategy, which involves re-aiming the company to focus only casino and casual games moving forward.

Last year, Big Fish Games was acquired by gaming manufacturer Aristocrat in a $990 million all-cash acquisition.

“We’re doing fewer things better, to be bigger,” wrote Karp in the memo. “We are sharpening our focus to only develop social casino and casual games — genres where we have earned the right to lead the market.”

Karp said the moves would put the company “on a path to unlock the full potential of the business and to become a top 10 game company in the world.”

In July the company had 735 employees nationwide. The recent cut would approximate the number of jobs affected to around 100.

Karp said the majority of layoffs were centered around the premium business, SkyRocket Studios – which is accredited to producing casual mobile games such as Fairway Solitaire, Fairway Solitaire Blast, and Cascade, as well as cuts in centralized teams.

Going forward, Karp said the company will have four studios focused on “quality content and making great games.”

The company will be creating a new publishing vertical with strong functional expertise in marketing, product management, operationalizing data and building brands.

The company will also build a new cross-functional team that will drive prioritization and enable studios to make great games.

This organization includes engineering, IT, Game Ops, BI, Operations and Insights. Katie Leggett has been promoted to VP, Operations, Insights & User Experience, said Karp.