Sony Online Entertainment has confirmed the rumors that have been circulating since last night in a press release. The company is closing several offices, laying off staff, and discontinuing production of The Agency:
"As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios. As part of this restructuring, SOE is discontinuing production of The Agency so it can focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide and EverQuest properties, while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games. All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern.
"This strategic decision will have no impact on SOE's current portfolio of live games; additionally SOE will transition development efforts for the Denver and Tucson studios' suite of products to its San Diego headquarters. This strategic alignment of development resources better positions SOE to remain a global leader in online gaming and deliver on its promise of creating entertaining games for players of all ages, and servicing the 20 million players that visited SOE servers in just the past year."
Massively wishes the best of luck to all those affected by this situation.
[Update: Good news for fans of specific SOE games. SOE's John Smedley has told Planetside-Universe.com that "PlanetSide Next is getting more resources and will be out a little later in the year, but [SOE is] pulling out all the stops to make it great." An official post on the Vanguard forums notes that "there are no plans to sunset the world of Telon so long as its citizens continue to dwell in such sustainable numbers." Likewise, EverQuest players have been told that "EverQuest is not going anywhere." We'll keep you updated as we hear more.]