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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 31, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Sony shutting Bellevue game studio, axes “The Agency”

Sony Online Entertainment is closing its Bellevue game studio and two others and laying off 205 employees.

The company also said that it’s killing “The Agency,” a massively multiplayer online spy game for the PC and PlayStation 3 that was being developed in Bellevue.

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Sony hired several former Microsoft game developers to start the studio in 2004. The next year they began work on “The Agency” (pictured).

Sony spent millions on the game and at one point employed more than 100 developers at the Bellevue studio, which hosted high-profile media events to drum up interest in the game a few years ago. But the game’s release was repeatedly delayed, key leaders of the studio left and Sony hasn’t said much at all about the game recently.

A spokeswoman wouldn’t say how many employees are left in Bellevue. The company’s also closing studios in Tuscon and Denver and transferring their projects to SOE’s San Diego headquarters. Altogether it’s laying off 205 employees across the three studios.

A Sony statement said the company’s closing the studios and killing the game so it can focus on its “PlanetSide” and “EverQuest” franchises “while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games.”

“All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern,” it said.

Sony continues to operate Zipper Interactive, a Redmond studio that’s about to release a new version of its “Socom” action game for the PS3. The company also has close ties to Sucker Punch Productions, a Bellevue studio that created the PS3-exclusive “inFamous” franchise.

The Bellevue studio that’s closing occupied around 15,000 square feet in an office park alongside Highway 520 near the site of the original Dixie’s BBQ.

Comments | Topics: Games & entertainment, Microsoft, PlayStation

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