WotC's Annual Xmas Layoffs - Page 8





  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronWolf View Post
    Can't they work their books a bit to push this off to a different time.
    The fact that they do it every year at about the same time suggests that it is linked to their fiscal year. WotC's owned by Hasbro, and how WotC gets to manage its fiscal year may depend upon Hasbro's financial practices. If they have some need to clear the debits and credits lines at the end of the year, they may not have much control over the timing.

    It would be interesting to see someone with the proper marketing and financial savvy do a workup - in these days of the internet, what's the damage done to their corporate reputation by doing a regular round of firing every holiday season?

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat View Post
    That just sucks. I don't ever think I'll understand their criteria for who gets laid off.
    Agreed.

    On the 13th he's announcing plans for after the New Year:
    Whoops! Browser Settings Incompatible

    On the 14th he's fired.
    Whoops! Browser Settings Incompatible

    Lame.

    //H
    Last edited by Harley Stroh; Thursday, 15th December, 2011 at 03:48 PM.

  • #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    The fact that they do it every year at about the same time suggests that it is linked to their fiscal year. WotC's owned by Hasbro, and how WotC gets to manage its fiscal year may depend upon Hasbro's financial practices. If they have some need to clear the debits and credits lines at the end of the year, they may not have much control over the timing.
    Yeah, I definitely suspect it lines up with a fiscal year. But surely the company operates with a budget that was planned quite far out in advance. Use that budget to figure out how to *not* do this just before the holidays. This is an annual event for WotC, not a surprise mid-budgeting error.

    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran
    It would be interesting to see someone with the proper marketing and financial savvy do a workup - in these days of the internet, what's the damage done to their corporate reputation by doing a regular round of firing every holiday season?
    I agree. Granted we are a small subset within an already small niche that probably pay any attention to the people actually working at WotC. But I would have to think it isn't good to look like Ebenezer Scrooge every holiday season on some level.

    I don't think anyone likes layoffs and there probably isn't really a good time for them for those impacted. But in the run up to the holiday season just seems especially a worse than usual choice, especially as an annual event.

  • #74
    Quote Originally Posted by 3catcircus View Post
    Not really - its just the short-sighted "we're focused on next quarter's profits" mentality amongst the MBA set entrenched in middle and upper management at many US companies.

    Letting people go to eliminate redundancies as part of a long-range plan is one thing, but artificially making your performance appear better at the end of the year by letting go people who are necessary for the long-term performance of your business is, and always has been, just plain stupid.
    Agreed. Sometimes you have to lay people off; that's the reality of business. And if somebody's not doing their job, of course you fire them. But annual layoffs, in good times and in bad, are a sign that somebody in management is doing a crappy job.

    I suspect the impetus here is coming from Hasbro rather than WotC. Not to say Wizards isn't capable of making bad choices, but this smells like some exec trying to make next quarter's share price look shinier, which is mostly a pathology of big publicly traded companies rather than small tight-knit ones.

    There is no fluff. There is no crunch. There are only rules of varying precision.

  • #75
    Quote Originally Posted by OpsKT View Post
    I firmly believe that Cook was brought back just to make a last ditch attempt to regain ground in the edition wars, by taking 5th Edition back to the rules-laywer mess that was v3.5. If they do that, I will not be buying it, and I will do my fantasy games with Savage Worlds and BRP.

    I also want to point out, that there is a lot of people out there, every day, fighting their little battles in the edition wars, clamoring for WotC to fail. Then they have the nerve to act upset when WotC lays people off. That's like people feeling bad for the Michigan Auto Industry that have spent the last 20 years telling people to buy Toyota! And it's either hypocritical, or the result of a huge intellectual disconnect.

    If Pathfinder 'wins' and D&D goes down as a game, it's not that Paizo will be able to buy the rights and re-publish D&D 'the right way' like people keep hoping, it's that there will be NO D&D RPG. As I have told many people, Hasbro did not really buy D&D for D&D, they bought it for Drizzit, and Elminister, and the like. The novel sales have always been a more reliable revenue stream than the RPG, as well as video game rights and now, Board Games. If D&D falls, outside of novels and video games, the only D&D you'll see are more of those board games.

    The poor sales response to Essentials has led to this in part, which comes in part from the edition war I see on every forum and hear in every game store. All these people complain about Hasbro laying WotC people off, but then keep trying to put D&D out of business.

    If D&D was selling like it did before the edition wars, before Paizo essentially re-sold WotC's v3.5 rules under a new name (which Paizo admits because they needed it in print to support their bread and butter, Adventure Paths), these layoffs would not happen. But when Hasbro shuts down D&D, if the upcoming edition (they will not admit to using Monte Cook in an attempt to go back to something more like 3ed edition but different enough to call it 5th) does not meet sales quotas, then D&D will become an IP used only for video games, novels, and board games. Hasbro will never sell the IP because to sell it would be selling Drizzit.

    And if that happens, Future Generations will never know D&D, only it's clones and retro refits. And that would be sad for gaming.

    Echoes my thoughts from the last two years. While Magic has enjoyed a recent resurgence, its clear that the need for shareholder satisfaction is beating the drum at Hasbro. The layoffs of their game division in East Longmeadow, MA earlier in the Spring were a heavy blow.

    I think 4th edition was a good move in the right direction, but trying to pitch it and Red Box to a crowd of existing D&D players was relatively pointless. WOTC needs to aggressively pursue new customers with these products. Its a marketing issue, not a design issue.

  • #76
    Quote Originally Posted by OpsKT View Post
    I firmly believe that Cook was brought back just to make a last ditch attempt to regain ground in the edition wars, by taking 5th Edition back to the rules-laywer mess that was v3.5. If they do that, I will not be buying it, and I will do my fantasy games with Savage Worlds and BRP.
    Actually, I just had the thought that Hasbro CAN'T let Cook take it back to something like v3.5, so they'll have to do something new and different. Which makes me fear something like a Monte Cook's World of Darkness for D&D, which will be as far removed from D&D as that book was from the World of Darkness.

    Crap.
    ~No one wins in the Edition Wars. The whole hobby loses.~ KT

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    I can add WotC's cold-hearted treatment of its employees, even the ones with 20+ years experience at the company, to the big pile of reasons of why I won't buy any more WotC products.

  • #78
    [QUOTE=D'karr;5750643]Monte Cook was not fired. He left on his own to seek better opportunities. Maybe he saw the writing on the wall, and preempted the firing, which I doubt by the way he mentioned his departure. Some of the people that have been laid off over the years are still working as free-lancers with the company.

    I never said that Monte was fired, just that he was hired back. Anyway, I think we all can agree that this practice of firing people every six months (I think they've done a bunch of May/June layoffs in the past several years) is pretty despicable.

  • #79
    Quote Originally Posted by DimitriX View Post
    I can add WotC's cold-hearted treatment of its employees, even the ones with 20+ years experience at the company, to the big pile of reasons of why I won't buy any more WotC products.
    So they can use poor sales as a reason to lay off more of them? Did you not read my post?
    ~No one wins in the Edition Wars. The whole hobby loses.~ KT

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronWolf View Post
    Yeah, I definitely suspect it lines up with a fiscal year. But surely the company operates with a budget that was planned quite far out in advance. Use that budget to figure out how to *not* do this just before the holidays. This is an annual event for WotC, not a surprise mid-budgeting error.
    Large companies these days often don't allow employees to carry vacation over from one year to the next. That vacation, which would have to be paid to the employee if they decided to leave, technically counts as a debit on the corporate balance books. When you have many employees, the sum total of that debit is no small thing, and it makes the overall balance sheet look more crappy.

    Is it actually a financial issue for the company? Not generally. Unless everybody decided to leave (or had to be let go) at once and take that vacation as cash, it wouldn't actually have a major impact on the financial stability of the company.

    But, how it looks on paper sometimes matters. Maybe how things look on paper matters, so that they really don't want to hold onto people into the new year. However, they don't want to let them go early, either, as then you lose their productivity.

    I wont be surprised if, actually, they understand the issue, and are working to reduce it: Note how Monte Cook is working for WotC now, but he's freelance/consulting rather than a full-time employee? I'm now suspecting both WotC and Monte got it - letting a freelancer go when his assignment is done is not the same thing as letting a permanent employee go.

    None of which makes this any better for Mr. Baker. I hope he finds something good, as some of his work has been excellent.
    Last edited by Umbran; Thursday, 15th December, 2011 at 04:45 PM.

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