Layoffs at Stardock because of Elemental

Not good…not good at all:

It is true.

Elemental’s revenue was anticipated to provide the revenue both for our main games team’s next project as well as a second team. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen so we’ve had to start laying people off.

No one is being fired. None of these people did anything wrong. Stardock is a small company and each person here is truly amongst the best and brightest. So you can imagine how much it sucks for all of us to lay off anyone. We haven’t had to lay anyone off since our migration from the OS/2 market in 1998. It would be great if we can bring as many of these people back over time if the studio can afford it.

No one involved on the core components of Elemental is affected.

Elemental’s rocky launch can be summed up (IMO) as follows: Our QA process was insufficient to handle a brand new platform (Elemental = Kumquat 1.0 versus say Galactic Civilizations II was using Pear which was the same engine, modified, from 1997’s Entrepreneur) + my own catastrophic poor judgment in not objectively evaluating the core game play components.

…and it looks like he confirmed the conclusion of a massive quality control breakdown that I mentioned in the last post.

To the people who lost their jobs:

I’m very sorry you have to go through this. It’s not a good feeling at all to loose your job. Know that you will eventually land and the next experience will be better than the one you lost. Onward and upward…

To Brad:

Oy…what a lesson to learn, eh. To get punch in the gut that says “My actions, good and bad, determine the fate of other people’s jobs”. If I were in your shoes right now, I would be absolutely crushed by that thought and I have no advice on how to deal with that…but I’m sure you will deal with it and also grow from it, as will Stardock. I’ve met many CEOs who never get that lesson and continue to act in ways that negatively impact the people that work for them…I sense you are not one of them. Don’t ever be one of those douche bags.

Now for some free SoftawareTesting/QA/Verification advice: never, ever release a product to customers when you have unreasolved bugs that a blocking the normal operation of critical features. Ever….ever…ever. I’m also pretty sure you had a test case suite as well. Going to assume they are well written and cover all functionality. Never, ever, ever release to customers when the passrate of your test suite is below 95%….ever, ever, ever. If any of these criteria are not met…delay the release.

You are a software designer and CEO and really shouldn’t be part of the “should we release” discussion (…huuuuge conflict of interest…)…get someone else you trust to make that decision and take on an advisory/partnership role there. If you have a great QA team, you really, really need to take what they say about the product seriously (…including beta testers…)…or they need to tell you more assertively….or your QA process is just broken all together. I’m sure you have a paper trail a mile long of indicators of what went wrong, as such, this is only my educated guess of what is most likely the problem over there.

Good luck. You guys will bounce back. Now go make Elemental the game it should be.

D out.

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