It seems that two companies are going in different directions with the announcement that Warner Bros. Seattle underwent some layoffs, while at the same time Microsoft will open a new development studio in London.
The Warner Bros. studio in Seattle was responsible most recently for Gotham City Imposters and Guardians of Middle-Earth. Warner is spinning it as a staff reduction due to shifting business imperative, which made the decision necessary. Sources tell us that 60 employees were affected by the decision, and this is the second round of layoffs to hit the Seattle studio. The studio is currently working on Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle Earth.
Microsoft will strengthen its studio lineup in the UK with the announcement that they will be opening a new development studio in London. The new London studio will join other Microsoft studios in the UK such as Rare and Lionhead.
According to reports, the new Microsoft London studio will be focused on free-to-play titles and the micro transactions areas of the Xbox platform. The official Microsoft comment is that the new studio will be developing successful new programs and services for current and future Xbox customers.
Opening a new studio in the UK will likely be a good one for Microsoft, as the company will have a large and talented pool of resources from which to hire due to all of the studios in the UK that have been closed over the past year or so.