PopCap shuts down two studios, lays off 50 in Seattle

Update: PopCap co-founder John Vechey confirms the layoffs, offers comment.

PopCap, the social gaming studio behind hints like Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies, has laid off dozens of employees from its Seattle headquarters. In addition, two international studios in Dublin and Shanghai have been shuttered.

PopCap's head of social media Jeff Green confirmed the layoffs in a tweet, asking the gaming community to "hire my PopCap friends!" Other employees have already begun using social media to search for new jobs.

3D Realms founder George Broussard has been providing regular updates about the situation at PopCap, confirming the extent of the worldwide layoffs. An earlier report from VG247 suggested that the developer has been "very quietly" laying off staff for "several months," culminating in today's unfortunate turn of events.

Recently, the studio had announced a sequel to its popular tower-defense game, Plants vs Zombies. Broussard suggests that it's an example of "good news before bad news." The company was acquired by gaming giant Electronic Arts last year for over $700 million.

PopCap co-founder John Vechey says that the EA acquisition has nothing to do with today's layoffs. "The founders, CEO, and executives who were in charge of PopCap still are. The decision to reorganize was 100 percent made by us, with no pressure from EA," he said on the PopCap blog. Adding, "if we didn't have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse."

"We've hired aggressively this past year and PopCap is still growing. Even with the cuts we expect to end the year with roughly the same number of people we started with."