RealTime IT News

No Joke -- Games.com Workers Gone

Not two weeks after being acquired by a French company, and just two months after launching the games portal Games.com, the Beverly, Mass., interactive and online divisions formerly owned by Hasbro Interactive have laid off 52 employees.

Infogrames Entertainment of France, which on Jan. 29 completed its $100 million acquisition of the interactive division of Providence, R.I., toy company Hasbro Inc., last week fired 45 of 188 workers in the Beverly interactive unit.

In addition, Infogrames let go of 37 employees from Games.com, an online portal where members can play Hasbro games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Clue, Risk and Boggle. Seven of the released workers were based in Beverly, while 30 worked in a development office in Alameda, Calif., which Infogrames closed.

Infogrames is apparently consolidating work formerly done in Beverly in its New York office, the headquarters for the French company's North American operations .

Infogrames and Games.com spokespeople failed to respond to phone calls today seeking comment.

Hasbro had a heap of trouble getting Games.com off the ground, with a launch orginally planned for last summer delayed, ultimately, six months, until December.

By that time, with more than $250 million invested in the interactive and online divisions, Hasbro had already pulled the plug on both. For $95 million in stock and $5 million in cash, it sold all interactive division assets, including Atari and MicroProse; sold Games.com; and signed a long-term licensing deal giving Infogrames rights to develop interactive games based on current and future Hasbro titles.

Infogrames publishes and distributes video games for all major consoles, including the titles Alone In The Dark, Driver, Deer Hunter, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Test Drive and Unreal. It also has a children's software division (Humongous Entertainment) and a Macintosh publishing label for Mac entertainment software.

In midday trading Tuesday IFGM was down 0.25, or 3 percent, at 8.5, while on the Paris Bourse Infogrames was up almost 1 percent, at 139.72 francs (about $19.73).