Backflip Studios, a Boulder-based mobile device game firm owned by toy maker Hasbro, is shuttering. Lucas High/BizWest.

Mobile game maker Backflip Studios to close, layoff dozens

BOULDER — Boulder-based mobile device game developer Backflip Studios Inc. is closing up shop and will lay off 86 employees, the entirety of the firm’s staff. 

The firm, which was founded in 2009 by Julian Farrior, Dale Thoms and Tom Blind, was acquired by toy company Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq:HAS) in 2013 for $112 million. The studios’ various games, which include Ninjump, DragonVale and Transformers: Earth War, have been downloaded several hundred million times, and many of the apps have achieved the top rankings for their categories in the Apple AppStore and Google Android Marketplace.

Backflip had operated since 2012 out of a 12,000-square-foot office at 1690 38th St. in Boulder. That space has been home to the Microsoft Corp. Boulder office before the company moved to a space downtown.

Backflip filed documents with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment earlier this week informing the state about the layoffs.

We have made the difficult business decision to close Backflip Studios. Despite working with the studio for the past few years, we’ve been unable to find a viable path forward. While we hoped for a different outcome, all employees will ultimately be departing the organization,” Hasbro spokesperson Erin Pensa told BizWest in an email. “Affected employees have been informed and will be eligible to receive severance packages. We are also exploring potential opportunities for impacted employees that may be a fit for open positions within our broader organization. Hasbro remains committed to digital gaming in other areas of our global business as well as part of our long-term strategy and we will continue to invest where we see opportunities for growth.”

Laid off employees represent a wide variety of job types, including accountant, software engineer, game designer and art manager, according to a Workers’ Adjustment Notification and Retraining Act notice filed with the state.

In a LinkedIn post Thursday, Backflip senior engineer Branden Conley wrote, “Backflip Studios shut their doors today. They were a great studio. Everyone I worked with was awesome, I think the products that were in development had a lot of potential, but Hasbro couldn’t make the financials work, I guess. My time there was great and I learned a lot! Fortunately the severance was really good, so I’ve got some time to figure out where I want to go from here.” 

Hasbro’s stock is down more than 20 percent from Tuesday, when the third quarter financial results failed to live up to Wall Street’s expectations. The company posted earnings per share of $1.84, off significantly from projections of $2.21 per share.

“The Hasbro team is making progress to accomplish our goal of returning to profitable growth this year in an environment where the trade conflict [between the United States and China] is having a [negative] short term impact” on the company’s bottom line, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said Tuesday during a conference call with analysts and investors. 

Hasbro is navigating through a “very choppy environment where retailer order patterns have changed in response to potential tariffs,” he said. 

The company’s recent struggles have not stopped Hasbro from acquiring outside firms. Hasbro announced in August it would spend $4 billion buy Canadian television production studio Entertainment One Ltd., which makes popular children’s programs such as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks.

BOULDER — Boulder-based mobile device game developer Backflip Studios Inc. is closing up shop and will lay off 86 employees, the entirety of the firm’s staff. 

The firm, which was founded in 2009 by Julian Farrior, Dale Thoms and Tom Blind, was acquired by toy company Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq:HAS) in 2013 for $112 million. The studios’ various games, which include Ninjump, DragonVale and Transformers: Earth War, have been downloaded several hundred million times, and many of the apps have achieved the top rankings for their categories in the Apple AppStore and Google Android Marketplace.

Backflip had operated since 2012 out of a 12,000-square-foot office at 1690 38th St. in Boulder. That space has been home to the Microsoft Corp. Boulder office before the company moved to a space downtown.

Backflip filed documents with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment earlier this week informing the state about the layoffs.

We have made the difficult business decision to close Backflip Studios. Despite working with the studio for the past few years, we’ve been unable to find a viable path forward. While we hoped for a different outcome, all employees will ultimately be departing the organization,” Hasbro spokesperson Erin Pensa told BizWest in an email. “Affected employees have been informed and will be eligible to receive severance packages. We are also exploring potential opportunities for impacted employees that may be a fit for open positions within our broader organization. Hasbro remains committed to digital…