“The game industry is recession-proof.” “NPD Group announces game industry grows 22 percent to $16.04 billion.” The good times are still rolling for games. Sure they are.

The times are so good that Sony is expected to post its first loss in fourteen years. They’re making up for that track record with an anticipated $1.1 billion deficit. Sony will also slash up to 16,000 jobs as well close about 10 percent of its manufacturing facilities. Good times for Sony, eh?

They aren’t alone. How many small/indie studios have shut down in the last year? If games are “recession-proof”, if the industry is doing so well, why can’t funding be found? Aren’t those numbers big enough?

Microsoft, a name not unknown in gaming, is dropping an entire studio, Ensemble, cutting off about 90+ people. And this is the bunch working on Halo Wars, due out around March.

Let’s not overlook Electronic Arts, dropping ten percent (about 1,000) of their workforce world-wide. In addition, they’re closing/consolidating nine studios and publishing locations. EA is not exactly a small operation, they’ve been around a long time, aren’t they getting their share of the pie?

THQ, Lucasarts, Eidos – they’re all cutting back, as well. These are big names. The “industry leaders”. They put out the “A-title” products. If the money is so good as NPD claims, why is everyone suddenly “consolidating”, or, in corporate-speak, “eliminating redundancies”? That last term sounds so much better than “firing people”.

One name is conspicuously absent from this list. Activision-Blizzard. Activision probably made the best move in its history buying Blizzard. World of Warcraft, currently sporting 11.5 million subscribers world-wide, is practically an automatic cash cow. Activision is likely the only “big” company not hurting for money, or anything else.

Perhaps that’s where most of the growth really is, in WoW? And if not, what’s happening to that “billion-dollar growth”? Where’s the money?

Sony to post first loss in 14 years on Gamespot

Game Developer Layoffs: The Real Story at Gamasutra