Sea confirmed that there were staffing changes
A week ago, Philippines-based digital pop culture news portal DAGeeks reported that Southeast Asia gaming giant Garena had laid off a majority of its staff in the country, leaving only its finance team.
Today, Garena Philippines’ parent, Sea Group (which also operates e-commerce platform Shopee), released an official statement to e27 to address those allegations.
In the statement, the company neither confirmed nor refuted the findings in the report, but acknowledged that there were staffing changes in the company. Sea, however, did not reveal how many or what percentage of the staff were affected by this move.
“We don’t disclose our headcount on a country-by-country basis,” said Sea. “[But] we are working closely with those involved to support their transition to new roles inside or outside our company.”
Sea said that staff changes were the result of the company readjusting to a digital economy that is increasingly shifting towards mobile-first.
“We regularly review our operations to align resource allocation with our business objectives. In fact, while we are firmly embedded as the regional leader in online PC games, we see rapid growth in our mobile and self-developed titles which account for an ever-larger proportion of online game activity in our region,” Sea said.
“In line with this industry shift, certain front-line PC-focused operations or maintenance roles have been streamlined as our game business continues to grow rapidly in this mobile era.”
Sea said that it remains “deeply committed” to the Philippines and will continue to create jobs and increase headcount in that market.
“Our localisation, community support, and e-sports efforts will continue as normal. We will continue to drive the growth of e-sports in the Philippines and across the region.”
Sea claimed that, on the whole, Garena continues to be a profitable business. In the second quarter of 2018, Garena recorded adjusted revenues of US$139.1 million, with an adjusted EBIDTA of US$48.6 million. The platform also recorded 160.6 million quarterly active users in the same quarter.
Garena’s bets on mobile appears to have been the right move for the company, as evident from its quarterly report.
“In the month of June, 73 per cent of revenues for our digital entertainment segment [i.e. Garena] came from mobile, while 13 per cent of total digital entertainment revenues came from our self-developed game Free Fire,” said Sea. In Q2 2018, Free Fire’s peak daily active users hit 16 million.
“The Garena business continues to thrive, and the nature of the gaming industry is such that in order to continue to thrive we are constantly adapting. In particular, we see an opportunity to be nimble and innovative in addressing the huge opportunity as gaming activity increasingly shifts to mobile,” Sea emphasised.
e27 reached out to Garena Philippines’ current and former employees, but did not get a response.
Image Credit: Sea
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