PopCap, after evaluating the performance and possible future of its Dublin offices, has decided to close them down this week, laying off 96 employees. This follows a previous round of layoffs, when 50 developers were laid off from PopCap’s North American offices. The Irish division of PopCap opened in Dublin in early 2006, under the name PopCap International, and worked on product localization, mobile games development, marketing, sales and business development.

RipTen previously covered PopCap’s plans to reduce employment previously. As co-founder of PopCap John Vechey stated, the layoffs are a direct result of a reorganization in PopCap in response to an observed shift of consumer sympathies toward free-to-play models.  Employment reduction is a harsh, but necessary step in order for the company to remain competitive on the market, according to Vechey. Furthermore, he explains that the decisions were made independently, without any interference from Electronic Arts.

Although the closure resulted in layoffs, PopCap has provided support and offered re-employment in other parts of PopCap or Electronic Arts. PopCap will continue to be present on the European games market, using Electronic Arts’ own network in the region. In fact, EA has recently expanded its presence in Europe, creating 300 new jobs at its European Customer Experience Centre of Excellence.

Our sympathies go out to all of those affected by this unfortunate round of layoffs.

via [TheVerge]