The Gamer Economy

It looks like games aren’t as recession-proof as they’ve seemed to be in the past—at least if you’re a mass-market tabletop games company. According to various reports, Mattel is laying off 1,000 people, 4Kids is still losing millions of dollars, and Topps is closing its WizKids division.

First, my condolences to those employees caught up in all of this. It’s never fun to lose a job, especially when the economy is so rough.

Second, this shows just how big gaming has become. The companies in these reports aren’t five guys working out of a basement. They’re mass-market, publicly traded, multinational giants. Because of that, they expand and contract along with the global economy rather than being able to relay on a small but dedicated base of fans to help them chart their own courses.

Times like this make me glad to be working for myself. Many people fear to make the jump to freelancing because they prefer the security of working for large companies. However, while my income may be varied and sporadic—that’s an inbuilt hazard for any freelancer—at least I never have to worry about being let go.