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Sony Online Games Cutting 205 Jobs, Shuttering Three Studios

Sony Online Entertainment, the unit that makes online role-playing games, will cut 205 jobs and close three studios in a cost-cutting move.

The San Diego-based producer of massive multiplayer online games such as “EverQuest” and “DC Universe Online” will consolidate there and in Austin, Texas, after shutting its Denver, Seattle and Tuscon, Arizona, studios, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.

As part of the restructuring, the Sony Corp. unit is discontinuing production of “The Agency,” a spy shooter title in development since 2007 for Windows computers and the PlayStation 3 game console.

Like other game studios, Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley has said the company will develop more free-to-play games to take advantage of the growing popularity of casual games on social networking sites such as Facebook Inc. Those games require less money and time, Smedley has said.

“This strategic alignment of development resources better positions SOE to remain a global leader in online gaming and deliver on its promise of creating entertaining games for players of all ages,” Taina Rodriguez, a spokeswoman, said in the statement.

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