Just a few days after social gaming company 6waves Lolapps said it was laying off most of its development staff to focus on publishing, its chief product officer Arjun Sethi and chief technology officer Brian Rue have stepped down.
6waves Lolapps was born last July out of a merger between a Facebook game developer Lolapps and a publisher 6waves. The publisher had been instrumental to the success of Lolapps’ hit Ravenwood Fair, which was considered one of the best games on the platform in late 2010 and early last year.
Clearly, the merger didn’t work exactly as intended. But with the deal, 6waves Lolapps picked up some valuable technology that helped boost revenue per day from players across the publisher’s network of titles. Sethi said his resignation after more than four years at the company was planned ahead of the layoffs.
“After more than four amazing years with Lolapps, I find it so hard to say goodbye to the team and to the impressive products that we’ve built together,” he said in a statement on his personal blog.
After joining Lolapps as its chief executive, Sethi saw the company transition from simple, very viral quiz apps in the early days of the Facebook platform when distribution was easy to more intensive games like Ravenwood Fair, which was like a mix between Frontierville and a business sim game.
Rue added in his own blog post: “It’s been a crazy ride of ups and downs and it feels very strange that it’s come to an end. I’m proud of the culture that we built, and it was especially evident this week as suddenly-former employees banded together to commiserate and find new companies to call home.
Up until recently, it looked like 6waves Lolapps was going to be a dual publisher and developer. After the two companies merged, they raised about $35 million in funding from Insight Venture Partners and South Korean gaming giant Nexon. Not long after that, the company ponied up to buy a developer in China called Smartron5 and a mobile development team through a deal to buy Escalation Studios.
Sethi hasn’t planned his next move yet. Going forward, 6waves Lolapps will focus on publishing. Its existing titles will continue to work and 6waves Lolapps is looking for a third-party team to service them.
The titles that were still in development including Ravenshire Castle will still come out. Sethi and one of Lolapps’ original co-founders Kavin Stewart will personally fund a spin-off to make that happen.
All in all, the layoffs are just another sign of how challenging the environment is for gaming companies on Facebook. It’s a very bittersweet week that underscores just how fickle the gaming industry week is with OMGPOP’s stellar turnaround and sale to Zynga and 6waves Lolapps’ sad layoffs.