Just a few years after the Vancouver branch of GUMI America opened up in Vancouver’s neighbouring town of Burnaby (right near Metrotown), the Japanese giant has decided to pull the plug on it’s attempts to make waves in the West.
Originally—as reports started trickling in— it was believed to only be the Vancouver studio affected, but it seems a handful of offices will be shut down. The latest news has studios closing down in Canada (Vancouver), Sweden, Germany, Austin USA, and Hong Kong. Which is a lot.
The company known, or not super known in North America, for making mobile titles like Brave Frontier, and Wakfu Raiders, may now be the poster child for hyper-expansion issues in the West. While not a new tragedy by business standards, game companies tend to expand slowly at first, and even slower later. But the Japan-based powerhouse made a huge splash in english titles, with very little critical/commercial success.
“We believe in a ‘think global, act local’ approach to mobile game development, which is focused on going beyond localization and developing unique games for each market,” commented AJ Redmer, VP of Western Studios for GUMI, in 2014 regarding the expansion studio opening in Vancouver.
“This includes hiring the best local talent and expertise in each market, and having our feet on the ground. By working closely with the B.C. government and opening a dedicated studio in Vancouver, we are able to execute on our vision of a worldwide company with a truly local development approach for each game we ship.”
Even their Japan location was hit by a large number of job cuts last year.
It’s unclear as of right now how the company plans to bounce back from these events, but it’s safe to assume this isn’t the last we’ve heard from GUMI (or Fuji & Gumi Games as their known now in Japan, thanks to a large-scale partnership with Fuji TV).
For those affected by the Vancouver closure, we hope (and know, because the talent in Vancouver is amazing) you all land on your feet soon. And if you’re looking to get back in the game rather quickly, be sure to hit up Techfest in Vancouver on May 25 at the Cabinet Warehouse.