Idle Games layoffs ensue after developer increases focus on casino games

Social game developer Idle Games has let 25 employees go, Inside Social Games can confirm.

We first heard rumors about the layoffs yesterday, Idle Games Founder and CEO Jeffy Hyman confirmed them over the phone. Hyman said there are still 40 employees working at the company, including its founding members and senior engineers. Those displaced were from the team working on the company’s massively multiplayer Facebook game Idle Worship.

When we reviewed Idle Worship in April we noted the game implemented a number of innovative mechanics and had some stunning production values, but also had some technical and pacing issues. Five weeks after its launch, Idle Worship had 30,000 daily active users; now it has 10,000.

Hyman tells us the game is seeing an average revenue per daily user of $0.12 to $0.13 and average play sessions of approximately an hour, but that the game had trouble finding an audience on Facebook. “You either needed medication because you loved it so much or you just didn’t play it,” he says. “There was no happy medium.”

Correction: We originally reported the average revenue per user was $0.12 to $0.13. This should have been identified as average revenue per daily user.

Following the layoffs, Idle Worship now pays for itself and the game will continue to be supported. Hyman says Idle Worship may be brought over to another platform like tablets or the open web for a subscription fee in the future, but the studio is currently focused on its new poker title Fresh Deck Poker and future social casino titles. Fresh Deck Poker is currently playable on Facebook but isn’t going to officially launch until early October. However, the company is already advertising the game in Southeast Asia. Fresh Deck Poker currently has 20,000 daily active users and will probably see significant growth when Idle Games officially launches it on the social network, allowing cross-platform gameplay and real-money prizes.

Even though Idle Worship received a lot of positive press at the time of its launch and is currently nominated for a GDC Online Award (under the “Online Innovation” category), Hyman explains these things didn’t make the game profitable. “There’s a good life lesson there that you don’t need to innovate on every single vector,” he says. “In order to be successful you don’t want the press, reviews and accolades. You want bucket loads of money.”