Keywords Studios has temporarily furloughed some of its Dublin staff

Most of those affected are involved in game testing, which is done in secure facilities to prevent leaks.

By Jonathan Keane Reporter, Fora

KEYWORDS STUDIOS HAS temporarily furloughed some of its Dublin workforce due to the coronavirus crisis.

It is understood that around 200 staff are among those affected, mostly game testers. The staff were notified late last week of the decision according to an email seen by Fora.

Some staff, such as developers and customer support personnel, have been able to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. For testers, given the nature of their work — testing advanced versions of games ahead of release — the employees are required to work in secure facilities to prevent leaks.

A spokesperson for Keywords told Fora that a “high proportion” of the Dublin workforce is in this game testing service line.

“Following the recent government measures, we have had to close our secure facilities with the consequential loss of revenue meaning that we have had to temporarily furlough these staff in order to protect the business.”

The spokesperson added that most of these employees will be able to access the enhanced jobseeker’s allowance that has been introduced in response to the crisis while the company is applying for the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme.

The company is in talks with clients to negotiate arrangements that would allow testers to carry out at least some of their work remotely at home.

“Wherever possible, for instance in our localisation, engineering and customer support services, and in our testing services where we have been able to secure the special permissions from our clients, we have been able to move our existing staff to working from home,” the spokesperson said.

Keywords Studios, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, was due to release its full-year earnings report for 2019 this week but that was pushed back with the Covid-19 crisis.

In the stock exchange filing announcing the delay, chief executive Andrew Day said that Keywords was somewhat shielded from long-term damage stemming from the crisis.

“Whilst we do expect disruption to the provision of our services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we anticipate the underlying drivers of growth across the video games market to remain intact, whilst games companies also look to enhance their resilience across their production arrangements,” he said.

Keywords reported revenues of €153.2 million in its half-year report for 2019 with a pre-tax profit of €18.4 million. Its January trading statement anticipated that it would have revenues of €326 million for the year.

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