All 36 employees of Plain Vanilla in Iceland have been laid off, as confirmed by the gaming company’s CEO Þorsteinn B. Friðriksson. Plain Vanilla will be closed, although bankruptcy will be tried to be avoided, mainly to guarantee that all employees will have their term of notice paid in full.
NBC announced to the company last week that they were backing out of the production of an interactive quiz show, on which they have been working for almost two years. This came as a huge blow to Plain Vanilla, Þorsteinn explained on ruv.is, and therefore the company had to send all its employees in Iceland a letter of resignation today.
Plain Vanilla experienced instant success with its hugely popular mobile game QuizUp, realeased in November 2013. Eighty million people have downloaded the game and today still, QuizUp gets around 20,000 new users on a daily basis.
In connection with the development of the game, 100 new jobs were created in Iceland and ISK 5 billion (USD 43 million, EUR 39 million) in foreign investment have entered the Icelandic economy.
In 2015 it was announced that NBC was going to develop a quiz show based on the game, which was supposed to premiere in spring 2017.
“We placed our bets on the extensive collaboration with the television giant NBC. One could say that we placed too many eggs in the NBC basket. We have spent a lot of time and energy on developing the show. When I received the message from NBC that they were canceling the production of the show, it became clear that the conditions for further operation, without substantial changes, were gone,” Þorsteinn stated.
In the past years, Plain Vanilla has been operating at a loss. In April, 27 employees were laid off. QuizUp will continue to exist. However, it’s unclear who will continue the game’s future development. Þorsteinn said he will not be involved with QuizUp from now on.