The rumors started flying late on Wednesday and today Sony Online
has now confirmed via an email press statement that it is indeed shutting down three of its five internal game development studios and laying off 205 team members.
The move will close the Seattle, Tuscon and Denver studio, leaving only the San Diego and Austin Texas offices. The Seattle office has been developing the super-spy themed shooter The Agency
for the past several years. The closure means that The Agency
has now been cancelled as well. However the statement does add that the many online collectible card games that had been under development at the now shut down Tuscon and Denver offices will now be moved to Sony Online's San Diego headquarters. All other currently live MMO games from the publisher won't be affected.
The statement adds that this move was designed to "focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide
properties." Sony Online's head man John Smedley has been hinting strongly about the PlanetSide
revival plans for the past few months while the first glimpse of what was then called EverQuest Next
was revealed last summer during Sony Online's annual Fan Faire event.
[Via email press release]