Harmonix Replaces CEO and Drops 37 Studio Employees
VentureBeat reports that Harmonix is getting rid of 37 of its employees and will be replacing its chief executive officer, Alex Rigopulos. Rigopulos is stepping down from his CEO position and will be the company's next chief creative officer. Steve Janiak, Harmonix's previous head of publishing and business operations will be replacing Rigopulos as CEO.
“Harmonix is in the process of restructuring our organization to bring it into alignment with our current and future product development plans,” a Harmonix representative said. “Unfortunately, this means making the difficult decision to reduce the number of full-time staff. We sincerely appreciate the work of each and every one of these employees. Harmonix is working to ensure that those affected are well taken care of as we make this change.”
Moving the head of publishing and business operations to the lead position of CEO suggests that there will be a major focus on publishing rights, trademarks and finances within the studio, which makes sense considering Harmonix's games are music-themed and filled with copyrighted songs that the studio pays licenses for its soundtracks. Though it's of no consolation to those affected, this move came as a bit of a surprise. We weren't expecting these layoffs to happen considering that Harmonix has multiple projects in the works and has successfully completed its Kickstarter campaign for Amplitude, going nearly $75,000 over its minimum with over 14,000 supporters.
This marks yet another in the long line of studio layoffs or closures over the past few years. It appears even at developers where everything appears to be moving according to plan, those plans can change in an instant.