Over the weekend, Razer announced that it was closing the Razer Game Store as a part of company realignment plans. What the news surrounding that closure missed was that the realignment will include layoffs from the company, possibly in the phone division, leaving its future in limbo.
We received an anonymous tip suggesting that Razer had laid off the majority of its mobile device and hardware engineer staff on Friday, as well as some in marketing. The tip also said that some will remain with Razer to work on last Razer Phone 2 (review) updates, but that a future Razer Phone 3 has been cancelled.
While looking for company departures to back up this tip, we found several engineers – many of which worked on the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 – who left the company this month. We then reached out to Razer for comment on cuts to the mobile division and received the following response:
Razer has made changes to realign our organization and strengthen our path to growth. We will centralize our resources to focus on key projects and improve our profitability. As part of the realignment, we shut down several projects and unfortunately had to part ways with about 30 employees (about 2% of our total workforce). Other employees of the affected projects will be moved to different parts of Razer to work on other key focus projects and initiatives which will continue to scale and hire.
While that statement doesn’t single out the mobile division and the Razer Phone, that’s what we specifically asked about.
So Razer did indeed cut about 30 employees (or about 2% of its workforce) from several projects that have since been shutdown. One could assume that is related to the mobile phone division, since again, that’s what we were looking for comment on. If that’s the case, you have to wonder about future support for both the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2, two niche phones that we had mostly good things to say about.
As has been made clear in recent years, it’s hard to sell phones. LG can’t seem to sell them. Sony and HTC have struggled through multiple releases. And Samsung and Apple just reported awful quarters. While the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2 featured top tier specs, industry-leading 120Hz displays, and clean Android software experiences, we have no idea if either was actually successful.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
UPDATE: Following our original story, Razer has clarified more on how the recent cuts affect their mobile division. Below is the newest statement.
In our mobile division, there were some staff members who were let go, and others who were reassigned to other new projects. We see great opportunities in the mobile gaming space that we created with the Razer Phone and will continue to invest in this category through a combination of hardware and software initiatives. We are working on new exciting mobile projects and will share the news when we are ready. The Razer Phone 2 will continue to be on sale and we are committed to supporting it with the latest updates and features.
That’s all semi-confusing. There were cuts in the mobile division and others were reassigned to new projects, yet there are still mobile-related projects that Razer has in the works, both software and hardware. Got that? The good news is that they plan on supporting Razer Phone 2 for a while with updates. Again, we’ll keep you updated as this story unfolds.