Weekly Vancouver Game Industry News, July 17

Another late afternoon post… if the recession hadn’t wrecked Beer Fridays for all the local studios, no one would be sober to read this. As always, if you have any Vancouver game industry news you think should appear here, contact me via my website.

And now, in no particular order, here’s what’s new in Vancouver’s game industry this week:


Details on Nokia Vancouver Shutdown Emerge
Nokia’s N-Gage first party publishing group in Vancouver was rolled back into Nokia Finland on June 30th, with layoffs in marketing, business development and production groups accounting for most of the job losses. Third party support for titles like Tiger Woods on the N95 will continue with a small Vancouver group, but Nokia will cease expensive first party development. Only one or two first party titles will be developed per year and those titles will be done out of Finland.

Some, like Nokia’s (former?) Global Head of Production for first party titles, Dan Scott, have reportedly found jobs elsewhere in the organization, but for those laid off the severance packages were apparently quite healthy.


Flickr Founder Starts Vancouver Game Studio
Stewart Butterfield, who, with wife Caterina Fake founded Flickr before selling it to Yahoo in 2005 for $35M, returned to Vancouver last year. It now seems that Butterfield has also returned to his plans to develop a game, founding Tiny Speck, a social/online game studio. According to Wikipedia, Flickr “emerged out of tools originally created for Ludicorp’s Game Neverending, a web-based massively multiplayer online game. Flickr proved a more feasible project and ultimately Game Neverending was shelved.” Tiny Speck is currently hiring a Creative Production Team Lead.


Relic Lets 8 Staff Go
Last week Relic let go of eight staff, reportedly for strategic direction/skill fit reasons. People affected held positions that ranged from production to IT. Most notably, Relic’s IT Director for the past 11 years and probably the longest-serving employee, Frank Roberts, was one of those let go. Frank’s Facebook update announcing the news drew nearly 40 comments from well-wishers, a testament to how great he was to work with.

Good luck to everyone looking for work these days. If I can help anyone out in their job search, please let me know!


Prototype Dominating
First, Tami at Village Gamer first reported that Radical Entertainment’s “Prototype” had won GameTrailers.com’s GT Diamond Award for exceeding an astounding 10 million video views. Shortly thereafter, the NPD released June sales figures that showed Prototype racking up 419,000 units sold on Xbox 360 alone – topping the charts. Congrats, Radical!


Unity 3D Event Reminder
July 24th and 25 are the Unity 3D events here in town. Save a few bucks and register using the Techvibes 50% off coupon: UnityTechvibes


Friday, July 24th, District 319
The Unity Networking Event

  • 5:30pm – 6:30pm Reception, drinks and appetizers.
  • 6:30pm – 7:30pm Key Note followed by Q

Saturday, July 25th, Centre for Digital Media
Intro to Unity 3D Workshop

  • 9:30am – 5:30pm


Adrian Crook is a game consultant based in North Vancouver. With over 14 years experience, Adrian designs and produces social, casual and AAA games for a variety of clients. He has spoken on the subject of free-to-play games at GDC and SXSW and writes articles for trade publications.