And sales of the consoles themselves — from Microsoft Corp., Sony Corp., and Nintendo — are down. While some of the decline can be attributed to upcoming releases of a new generation of consoles, mobile is playing a big part.
Aside from the proliferation of smartphones, which about half of all Americans own, many game companies are struggling to adjust to the new mobile business model. For years they have spent millions to develop games that sell for as much as $60. Now, they are competing against free downloads.
Another challenge is how big game studios find inroads into the app marketplace with compelling games that compete with the likes of the wildly popular mobile app Angry Birds and make money.
The industry is moving so fast to adapt to the changing landscape that even the recently jobless are not idle for long.
As word of the layoffs at Zynga’s Cambridge office began circulating last week , competitors immediately wooed those employees with job postings on Twitter.
And some of the ImaginEngine employees laid off in mid-October will be relocated to other offices by the parent company, Foundation 9.
“All this disruption in the marketplace has created a tremendous amount of opportunity,” said Timothy Loew, the executive director of MassDiGI. “Mobile has actually brought more players and more demographics into the marketplace.”
Indeed, many of the area’s newest game makers are skipping the console side of the business entirely and focusing solely on games for the mobile market.
“We have all our eggs in this basket, and we think it’s the right basket at the right time,” said Dave Bisceglia, chief executive officer of The Tap Lab, a Cambridge developer that will release its new mobile game, Tiny Tycoons, later this year.
“I hope there’s an even bigger shift,” he said. “It’s a good time for a company like ours.”
Michael B. Farrell can be reached at email@example.com.