Rock Band 4 can’t save a struggling Mad Catz | Tech News

Mad Catz was counting on these plastic instruments to save its business. They didn’t.

Things are looking mighty grim for long-lived gaming accessory maker Mad Catz this week, the company perhaps best known for making those cheap off-brand controllers you forced your younger sibling to use. Despite seeing significant sales from a publishing deal for Harmonix’s Rock Band 4, Mad Catz announced that it is laying off 37 percent of its staff amid massive financial losses and a significant executive restructuring.

There were hints of trouble earlier in the week, when Mad Catz announced that longtime President and CEO Darren Richardson was resigning, alongside SVP of Business Affairs Whitney Peterson. Then the real bad news came down last night in the form of the company’s quarterly earnings report: a $4.36 million (£3 million) loss for the last nine months of 2015, up from an $809,000 (£560,000) loss from a year before.

Mad Catz has been in dire financial straits since last summer, when the company notified investors that it was at risk of defaulting on its debt. At the time, Mad Catz executives said they were counting on a Rock Band 4 publishing deal to lead to “significant growth in sales and gross profit.”

While Rock Band 4 did push Mad Catz’s total sales up to a historically high $114 million (£78.8 million) for the holiday quarter, those sales don’t seem to generate much in the way of profits for the company. The game and its Mad Catz-produced instruments were quickly discounted in Black Friday deals, eating into the profits Mad Catz expected and suggesting less-than-expected demand for the same basic rhythm-matching gameplay we first saw nearly a decade ago.

Right now, Mad Catz is hoping those massive layoffs and a significant restructuring of the executive leadership can “lower operating costs, increase efficiencies, and better align its workforce with the needs of the business.” Wall Street doesn’t seem convinced, though; Mad Catz stock is currently down over 50 percent since February 4, and over 70 percent from a recent high last November (and down over 90 percent from an all time high in 2011).

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