A spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast has confirmed to ICv2 that the company has laid off 50 employees today at its headquarters in Renton, Washington. The retail division will not be affected by the layoffs. The action represents WotC's attempt to streamline the production and marketing of its games. WotC does not plan to change the release schedule for any of its planned products, and no products will be pruned from the schedule as a result of the action. The company has an ambitious roster for 2002 including a new Transformer CCG (see 'WOTC To Produce Transformer CCG') as well as the first Magic: The Gathering action figures (see 'Magic: The Action Figures').
As the premier publisher of collectible card games, WOTC has had a remarkably successful run including the initial boom in sales of Magic: The Gathering and a subsequent slam dunk with the Pokemon CCG. Although the Harry Potter CCG performed well initially (see 'Harry Potter WOTC's Biggest Ever'), it is clearly a Herculean task to match the phenomenal sales of the Pokemon era. A WotC spokesperson told ICv2 that layoffs were the result of the company's internal discussions about streamlining the company structure and not mandated by parent corporation Hasbro, which moved last year to gain more control over WotC's operations (see 'Hasbro Clips WotC's Wings'). With the economy just starting to revive, we can only hope that those affected by the WotC layoffs will find suitable employment again very soon.