Video game developer and publisher 2K Games has joined the growing list of companies enacting layoffs within the industry. The cuts impacted Visual Concepts Austin, a studio known for contributing to the NBA 2K franchise and Lego 2K Drive titles. While the exact number of affected employees remains undisclosed, individuals impacted have described it as a “group” and “several.”
This marks the second round of layoffs at the studio within the past six months, further highlighting the ongoing trend of job cuts within the game development sector (thanks, GameDeveloper!). In September 2023, reports emerged of similar reductions across various departments at Visual Concepts Austin. This latest development comes despite assurances made by 2K Games upon acquiring the studio in March 2021. At the time, the company intended to “hire hundreds of developers” to bolster its publishing business and support the NBA 2K franchise.
The specific reasons behind the recent layoffs remain unknown. No official statement has been released by 2K Games regarding the situation. However, the news aligns with broader industry trends, which have seen numerous companies scaling back their workforce in recent years. This has raised concerns about job security and working conditions within the game development sector.
Former employees impacted by the layoffs have expressed their sadness and worry about the situation on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Art manager Brad Bowling let the news out through a LinkedIn post.
“Well…the games industry bloodletting continues. Today Visual Concepts Austin laid off myself and a group of very talented developers. I have had a great time over the past couple of years working with some of the finest Game Devs in the industry. Over the past 23 years of making game art, I have seen some downturns but nothing like this. If anyone is in need of someone with my ‘particular set of skills’ please reach out. I’ll be hitting the virtual pavement hard as soon as I’m done crying in my beer. GG All”Brad Bowling
Associate software engineer Sydney F. echoed similar sentiments, writing, “Well after a great year of working at Visual Concepts Austin it’s sad to say I’ve been laid off as of today along with several other amazing colleagues. I will miss all of those that I worked with greatly.”
The impact of these layoffs on Visual Concepts Austin’s development projects and future plans remains unclear. As the game industry continues to navigate an evolving landscape, the situation feels like it happens all too often. We really don’t know who is next, but it all feels unstable.