Over the past few years, we've heard a litany of gloomy stories about layoffs and game studio closures. From indie developers to mega-publishers like EA or Activision, every other day it seems like there's a new story about game companies showing their employees the door.

Estimates from the website GameJobWatch peg 2013's layoff count at over 3,400, and that leaves out job losses that weren't reported by the press. Yet, paradoxically, the video game industry is booming. Americans spent $21.53 billion on games and hardware last year, and sales of the new-gen PS4 and Xbox One have exceeded most pundits' expectations.

So why are layoffs so common? Why are so many video game studios closing? Why do we hear so many stories about reorganizations and layoff cycles that leave even the most successful developers out of jobs? Why does it feel like the people who make video games are always on the hook?

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