It's never good to hear about game studios laying off staff, and we've certainly had our share of that recently. But you especially don't want to see it happen to a studio that single-handedly proved you don't need invasive DRM to top sales charts.
Stardock are behind the hits Galactic Civilisations 2, and Sins of a Solar Empire (developed by Ironclad) - both of which featured no form of CD copy protection, yet still reached the peak of PC retail sales charts despite a large number of digital sales.
Yet their newest game, Elemental: War of Magic, wasn't as big a hit. Perhaps it's due to not many knowing what the game is about - an at-first confusing mix of 4x and city-building gameplay. It could also be due to, as some users have said, the game's quality. Or perhaps it's just too damn close to the release of Civilisation V.
At any rate, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell confirmed on the Elemental Forums that layoffs were taking place:
Elemental's revenue was anticipated to provide the revenue both for our main games team's next project as well as a second team. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen so we've had to start laying people off.
Wardell is known for his honesty, and says he hopes that one day, when Stardock can afford it, the same people can be brought back on board.