Big Fish Games has always been a case study for success in the social casino/social gaming space. While other social gaming outfits came and went, Big Fish Games always seemed to be finding new successes. Since its inception as a startup, Big Fish Games has been sold and re-sold by various operations and always at a handsome profit.
Everything was going swimmingly for the company right up until an aggrieved group of players filed a lawsuit suggesting that social casinos were exactly like regular casinos and should be regulated as such. Their argument, which a judge agreed with, was that if you’re spending money to buy chips that are used to win more chips, you’re essentially just buying chips. He also ordered Big Fish Games to pay out $155 million in damages. (Big Fish’s previous owner Churchill Downs is on the hook for $124 million of that number.)
But between the settlement and the pandemic, Big Fish Games has seen fit to flex a bit and cast off approximately 250 employees. In a statement reported on by the Seattle Times, Big Fish co-presidents Andrew Pedersen and Jason Willig summed up the pivot saying, “The scale that Big Fish developed over many years as a multi-platform publisher has made it difficult to successfully lead in mobile, which requires greater agility and different operating and creative capabilities. By pivoting how we operate and sharpening focus, we will gain increased flexibility to engage players more effectively today and invest more for the future.”
Before the layoffs, Big Fish Games employed approximately 600 people.