Yikes: Reports Put EA Layoffs In The Hundreds

By Nathan Grayson on April 25th, 2013 at 11:05 pm.

Too often, I wonder if the gaming industry shouldn’t just switch over to producing new versions of musical chairs and duck-duck-goose full-time. It does, after all, seem to be what we’re best at. Projects wrap, publishers “restructure,” and the unemployment line has to change the hinges on its revolving door. Again. This year, especially, has been viciously unkind on the layoff and closures front, and after a brief reprieve, it looks like the infernal old machine is whirring back to life. EA’s now confirmed a major round of layoffs of its own, though it won’t divulge exact numbers or details as to who’s been affected. Sources, however, are putting the grand total in the hundreds.

First up, here’s EA’s official statement on the matter:

“In recent weeks, EA has aligned all elements of its organizational structure behind priorities in new technologies and mobile. This has led to some difficult decisions to reduce the workforce in some locations. We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by each of our employees – those that are leaving EA will be missed by their colleagues and friends.”

“These are hard but essential changes as we focus on delivering great games and showing players around the world why to spend their time with us.”

Initial reports claimed the chopping block saw more than 1,000 fresh faces – or more than 10 percent of EA’s previously 9,000-strong workforce – but others (for instance, this one on Polygon) are alleging the number’s actually in the hundreds. Regardless – and this probably doesn’t need stating – that’s a lot of people.

Among others, PopCap Vancouver and Quicklime have been completely closed down according to ex-employees. And of course, EA Partners’ closure is rumored to be another major driving force behind this unfortunate turn of events. Meanwhile, February saw big, disarmingly cheery layoffs at EA Montreal and Los Angeles, and of course, CEO John Riccitiello (whose name I only just figured out how to spell right before it ceased to matter) stepped down last month.

Clearly, change is afoot. What kind of change? Well, the company recently claimed it could “do better” and completely failed to understand what it was doing wrong all in the same breath, so I’m not going to feign optimism. As for what’s next, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, though, best of luck to all affected. Layoffs are completely miserable, but all you can really do is keep on moving.

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121 Comments »

  1. Noise says:

    Not surprised by this. EA has made a few too many mistakes and now they’re financially fucked.

    • frightlever says:

      EA are still posting a profit, or they did at their last earnings report. The problem, and let’s be clear it’s a problem that many large companies would be happy to have right now, the problem is that their profit wasn’t big enough to satisfy share-holders or the board.

      Don’t be confused about the share price. The share price can peak and trough as much as it wants and it won’t directly affect EA, unless they have to engage in borrowing. Market sentiment is about sheep getting scattered by wolves.

      You could speculate that the last earnings report is a precursor to a worse report that they know is coming, some write down they’re going to have to make, and this is sugar-coating to cushion the fall by showing that they’re already getting ready to turn it around. Honestly I think they’re just re-jigging the machine to make a greater profit on lower turnover.

      It might also be taken as a massive vote of no confidence in the coming generation of consoles – something which traditionally would lead to increased sales.

      • Zhiroc says:

        While it’s true that share price does not directly affect a company, it is false to presume that it has no effect. In particular, the people who run the company have a large portion, perhaps even the majority, of their compensation tied to share price, either in direct bonuses or stock options. Thus, you will see companies react to any dips in the price.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      I don’t know if it’s a representative parallel but I watched the credits form Metro 2033 a while back and the publisher(GSC) had about four times the staff as opposed to the developer(4A). This seems very unbalanced and arse first. I don’t know if the same numbers apply at EA but it hardly seems sustainable!

      • frightlever says:

        A publisher might be responsible for publishing hundreds of games a year. What’s so odd?

        However in this case GSC was also a developer, and a defunct one at that now unfortunately.

      • Don Reba says:

        Wait a moment. Metro 2033 was published by THQ. GSC has only published its own games.

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          My bad, THQ then

        • drvoke says:

          Yeah. GSC did that OTHER shooting game about Russians facing down unfathomable horrors in a bleak post-disaster setting. Don’t just stand there, come in!

  2. craigdolphin says:

    Author: Well, the company recently claimed it could “do better” and completely failed to understand what it was doing wrong all in the same breath, so I’m not going to feign optimism.

    Well said. Quoted for truth.

    • Bhazor says:

      To be fair EA being voted worst company was bullshit. I mean the world economy is lying on the floor naked covered in piss because of a handful of banking companies. I think that is a tiny bit worse than a company that had it’s name attached to a few rubbish games.

      Heck I’d even say they aren’t the worst among game publishe. I’m still holding out hope there’s some kind of suicide pact agreement buried in the legal departments of EA and Activision.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Yeah, that was a fucking embarrassment, and really hurts the credibility of the folks who conducted and publicized the poll.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          EA were thrown into the contest (along with a hodgepodge of other corporations) by the Consumerist, but the people who voted chose EA as the winner. Whose credibility is really being hurt here?

        • Lemming says:

          What’s the problem? It was a poll in the Consumerist. It was a company voted in relation to consumers. Oil companies and sweat shops weren’t eligible for the vote.

          What’s embarrassing is that people still don’t get this months later.

      • Smuckers says:

        It’s bullshit if you’re using it to actually define “the worst company in America”, but it’s very useful if interpreted as “the company with the most tone-deaf p.r. in America”. Who really thought that giving Peter Moore a soapbox to wax on about EA’s income statement was a brilliant way to address their public perception issues?

      • Convolvulus says:

        The Consumerist contest isn’t meant to gauge which company does the most damage to the world economy. It’s a method for consumers to tell companies that they aren’t happy with their services, and in EA’s case I’m certain the displeasure goes beyond “a few rubbish games.” In the face of decreasing profits EA could have decided to cut fat and concentrate on quality, but instead they’ve chosen to see just how much we’d be willing to pay for things that are worth less and less.

        “Server costs have always been included per license, but now they’re ten dollars. This character was conceptualized as a part of the story, but now it’s ten dollars. Levelling up should be a fun gameplay element, but now it’s a dreary grind meant to steer you toward microtransactions. Ten dollars. Ten dollars.”

        It’s like a gradual game of chicken based on customer dissatisfaction.

      • Zogtee says:

        It’s bullshit in that there are (obviously) other companies that are doing genuinely bad things to the environment, the economy, etc. This is true.

        However, the fact that a portion of your customer base dislike you so much that they are willing to vote you worst company repeatedly (despite the above) should be something to at least consider and not just gloss over.

      • aepervius says:

        That is because you do not understand what the poll was about. It was the worst company [i]In the viewpoint of the consumer having to use their service[/i]. There are far worst company than EA, but none of us are their consumer or even their “consumer” don’t mind them being worst (blackwater). As I said in another forum, it does not matter if there is a company out there using screaming live puppies as fuel for their machine, as long as none of us are their consumer they will not appear on that poll.

        It is not that the poll was bad, it is that you misconstrued its purpose. The fact that it is a poll made by the consumerist should have told you frankly what its target demographic and which company were looked at frankly.

        • Brun says:

          The real problem is that the poll itself is poorly named. “The Worst Company in America” is too broad and general. It should be “The most anti-consumer Company in America”, which is much closer to what the poll is actually about.

      • Flavioli says:

        Great, this thing again… I’m shocked at how much people don’t really see what the data in this poll is really showing. I think it’s abundantly clear that the poll doesn’t highlight which company people feel does the most wrong; it only shows that the type of people who would vote for a poll like this one are very pissed off at EA.

        In other words, I’d bet my house that the majority of people who voted for this poll don’t give a damn about BoA because they most likely belong to demographics who have never had to deal with banks or aren’t that concerned about the economic situation of the US at all. A young gamer who just unwrapped Sim City and is pissed that he can’t play the game is gonna go to the Consumerist poll to review bomb the company… you’d be delusional to think that he’s gonna get to the site and think “hmm, yes, I’m raging at EA right now but I heard those BoA execs have done some pretty bad things… better cast my rational vote for those guys instead!”. Those are the votes that skew this poll.

        Also, if I recall correctly, the number of people who voted for the poll was in the triple or quadruple digits… not exactly a very representative sample size, if you ask me, especially when you consider what type of demographic is likely to contribute to this poll. So yes, this poll was pretty much review-bombed by pissed off gamers and thinking that it represents the actual opinion of the average American is beyond silly.

        Regardless of who should or should not be actually earning this award, the fact that EA keeps earning it should be a very brightly-colored red flag and ignoring that “just because somebody else should probably have won the award instead” would be about as silly as the poll results are.

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    This time next year, we’ll be pining nostalgically for the days when they just laid off games developers.

    Once EA finally finishes its giant machine to process unwanted coders, animators, and writers into nutritious smoothie shakes for upper management we’ll see an upswing in hiring that will only end upon the mysterious and brief appearance of a blue box.

    • Carrion says:

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        I’ve always preferred http://youtu.be/-H_o6ncUz3g for some reason.

      • particlese says:

        Man, as much as I love good CG stuff, some of the optical effects they came up with back in the analog days were just incredible!

        Edit: Also, that title song is so good…I’ve had it stuck in my head all day, minus the times when it leaks out my mouth.

    • utharda says:

      Its too late Milord, HSBC has already perfected that technology, and begun demising its employees.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/shortcuts/2013/apr/24/demised-hsbc-euphemism-sacking-people

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        It has come to the Management’s attention that the euphemisms “down-sized”, “right-sized”, “streamlined”, “transitioned”, “restructured”, and “optimised” are not fooling anyone.

        Effective immediately, there will be no more euphemisms used. In future, when you’re being fired, you will be told that you are a useless parasite on the corporate organ. You will be provided with a statement showing precisely how firing you enriches the shareholders. For comparison, we expect the average employee’s firing to increase the average shareholder’s wealth by £2.13.

        We shall also attach a photograph of the yacht the CEO intends to buy with the bonus he will claim from the savings made by diverting your salary to the CEO bonus funds account.

        You will be invoiced for the photograph.

        Hmm, I think there might be an “I Am Aperture” in this.

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          Wait for the panic in upper management when they realise there is no middle management to manage and start hiring again, to ensure a good dividend in the next financial year!(and of course yacht varnish and blue boxes)

  4. fish99 says:

    I heard 2,000 layoffs.

    • Shuck says:

      In 2008 they closed 9 locations and laid off 1000 people. 2000 people would represent a pretty major restructuring, with a lot of studio closures.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        You’re assuming they didn’t just hire 2000 people for the express purpose of laying them off.

        I mean, I know it’s crazy, but this is EA we’re talking about. It’s just about pants-on-head wibbly shmoo HUNGRY BADGERS enough to be within the realm of plausible.

        • Don Reba says:

          Peter Moore might say: “some criticize us for hiring and laying off thousands of people, but the tens of thousands of résumés we get daily are proving them wrong.”

          I actually liked him when he was at SEGA.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            Don’t know about employment law in the states but I would imagine that turning over staff on short term contracts is alot cheaper than respecting your employees. The shareholder model is shit, the people who contribute the least are the most important and gain the most!, capital is god!, no capital no dice!!

          • Ovno says:

            Standard practice sadly and one of the reasons I work in Gaming (gambling) industry rather than Games…

            So many of my colleagues have stories of yearly rounds of hiring and firing of hundreds of people at various games studios and a variety of publishers, at lot of them even take out employment insurance as standard because they expect to only be employed for a year or two….

    • stampy says:

      I heard 37 million layoffs, but then again, that was from CNN.

      • fish99 says:

        But you didn’t. And I did.

        I never said it was right, I just said it’s what I heard.

      • scatterlogical says:

        I heard it was 54 billion people, 24 thousand chickens, 57 dogs, 12 cats and a llama named Gerald.
        Apparently it also means that we have to start fearing the end of the world again because the Mayan calendar is now running in reverse, and that’s according to The Onion so I believe every word.

  5. Schmudley says:

    I think it’s increasingly difficult for large companies like EA to function. They need big sales to generate enough cash to cover all their employees paychecks and other fixed costs, so just one or two poor products can really screw them. It would help if they had better games, but I wonder if their sales are starting to be eroded by increased competition from indies, or maybe it’s something else.

    My sympathies to the guys losing their jobs.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      It’s a bit like Microsoft in the company cycle

      Become too big > Increased focus on safety decreased focus on innovation > product stagnates

      Perhaps it is even compounded by the huge number of dodgy and often short-term-focused business decisions

    • Grygus says:

      I think it has a lot less to do with what’s profitable and a lot more to do with the idea that making 100 million dollars is a fail state.

    • Consumatopia says:

      EA is so big that they’ve got Sony’s problem–they’re so huge that their business model isn’t even coherent, different components of their company undermine each other.

      Take that terrible “We Can Do Better” letter.

      Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.

      What an idiotic thing to say. Obviously, some players want F2P and micro-transactions. Other players don’t like those games. That doesn’t make one set of players “right” or “the future of gaming”–some players will only play F2P, other players will only play non-F2P. Both sets of players will keep buying games–just not the same ones.

      In principle, one company could sell to both kinds of gamer. In practice, if you want to sell to players who want ordinary purchased games, you have to understand why they’re avoiding F2P games. And you’re probably not going to be able to do that if your corporate culture insists on maintaining a “party line” about F2P being awesome.

      • squirrelrampage says:

        You make a very good point there, although I would add that EA seems to have totally lost its strategic focus in the process: “Let’s do F2P! No, let’s do mobile! No, let’s do AUP!”

        It’s a behemoth of a company chasing after the last trend “discovered” by market analysts and pretty much alienating anyone in the process.

    • Tuor says:

      Most companies start with some sort of idea. Eventually, money people replace the idea people in positions of power, and once that happens, money becomes the foremost criteria for all decisions, and that leads to stagnation and eventual decline.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        This. Although it is a problem with the video game industry as a whole, not just EA. You think the ideas people would want to be hamstrung by 7 year old tech with everything they do, ofc not. If it were up to them the PS4 would have been out for 3 years already, its not like the hardware isn’t there to do it. It just doesn’t make sense to the money people to do that, and you know what, its really fucked the development of video games as an industry.

  6. Dinger says:

    Indeed, it’s sad to see such great and noble plans mobilize thousands only to be unhorsed by a handful in a meeting room, and then see that handful fire the thousands rather than face their own failurel

    Yes, the market is changing. Now that you actually have a voice in the shape of the product, it’s no longer putting up with your BS.

  7. HisMastersVoice says:

    EA is to big. It’s getting crushed under it’s own corporate overhead costs. The costs of developing games have risen not because they hire more devs, but because they’ve hired more managers.

    Hopefully we’re heading back towards more independent studios, slimmer, more focused publishers and an overall flatter industry structure.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      There needs to be a middle ground though, its not like 15-20 years ago where 3 people could make a worldwide smash hit in their basement. All of the work that goes into a AAA game now requires a big team, premises, overheads etc. The major problem is, somebody needs to cover these costs for 3+ years of development time before a return can be made and thats why we’ve seen the large companies dominate video games, they need to be able to afford to take years of losses on each project, even then a return is not guaranteed so they need to be able to survive those losses also. Smaller companies are doing this but you see a lot of them going under because they cannot survive a failure.
      For ex. 38 Studios, they couldn’t keep up with their outgoings when developing the Amalur MMO due to Kingdoms of Amalur not doing as well as expected, they went under. Realtime Worlds died when APB was a flop because they had put all their eggs in the proverbial basket.

  8. Continuity says:

    I heard 2000 layoffs

    • Atrocious says:

      I heard 37 million layoffs. On this site.

      • Zarunil says:

        I had no idea RPS was such a massive company!

        • The Random One says:

          Breakdown of RPS personnel:

          5 regular writers.
          4 freelance writers with regular columns.
          9 freelance writers without regular columns.
          0 proofreaders.
          18 editors of minutia (like when you see a comment by Ephemera Ed., that’s one of this guys. Or girls. They are all named Edward, even the girls.)
          1 editor-at-large (whereabouts unknown).
          1 Rab Florence (purpose unknown).
          2,000 alt text writers.
          2,000 spammers, for a lively environment.
          1 Keeper of the Staring Eyes.
          37,995,963 artisanal pixel artists, who manually put together each pixel in the images.

          After the layoffs, there will only be one employee left, Porpentine. She has gone on record to say she’s a strong believer in the RPS brand, but fans will notice a few small changes over the next few weeks, such as the site being turned into a giant translucent cube to eternally entrap jerks posting on freeindiegam.es.

          • Brun says:

            You forgot:

            1 Endless Server Technician.

            Please, think of the Horace.

      • stoner says:

        37 million? Absurd!

        Only 36,999,999 lay-offs. They maintained Bob. Bob’s got a union contract.

  9. Bhazor says:

    Closing a major Popcap studio less than a year after buying Popcap for over $1.3 billion.
    EA close down well respected franchise after it fails to meet ridiculous expectations of tripling its predecessor’s sales.
    EA announces plan to flood games with microtransactions.
    EA publicly lay off studio lead to “reassure stockholders” which is like reassuring the passengers that yes the pilot was drunk but now we’ve shot him so that’s an improvement
    Sim City.

    Anyone else get the feeling this is actually the videogame equivalent of The Producers?

    • Phantoon says:

      Honestly, I’ve felt a lot more like it was leading up to their CEO suddenly bursting out of their burning HQ, throwing his dead secretary on the pavement, then grinning and shouting to the sky, “THE ARISTOCRATS!”

    • sinister agent says:

      “reasuring the passengers that yes the pilot was drunk but now we’ve shot him”

      Amazing. I am liberating this quote.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      More like the video game equivalent of the aristocrats.

    • PedroBraz says:

      PopCap founded 2001. Bought by EA in 2011 for $750 million.
      Major games: Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled.

      This is according to MobyGames. How many divisions are there of PopCap? I know there is a Shanghai one as well. They didn’t just ran a profitable company into the ground in less than 2 years right? RIGHT?

      • Bhazor says:

        This is exactly what pisses me off about publishers. They’ll spend hundreds of millions on a studio and then at the end of the year they post that they face tens of millions in losses and use this excuse to close down a bunch of studios. If publishers would just stick to funding and publishing games there would be no ” EA posts $XXXmillion loss” story every year.

        Honestly Popcap peaked long before EA grabbed them and they’ve been losing ground in the casuals market to all the Facebook and iFondle devices. EA basically bought the Titanic after it already hit the iceberg. On paper its valuable but in reality its sinking fast.

  10. Phantoon says:

    I think it’s probably just as simple as the kids that remembered anything about 9/11 are getting too old to skip school and play Call of RPG Mechanics: Golden AK edition, and the kids that will buy this crap want to be space marines, not american soldiers.

    • Shooop says:

      Probably more to do with people figuring if they’re going to play CoD, they may as well play the game actually titled CoD because that’s what all the cool kids are doing.

  11. Fred S. says:

    When the economy is good and people are flush with money to spend on luxuries like video games, then even a shaky corporate business plan can rake in the dough. Times get tough, discretionary money gets tighter and the corporate chickens come home to roost.

  12. Blackcompany says:

    Its going to get worse for EA. Medal of Honor sales hitting tragic lows should be a wake up call. It might take years – especially since Battlefield is only a biannual release – but fatigue WILL set in. One year, EA will take up to find out that Battlefield is no longer the mega-hit it once was. And this new, anti-gun culture rapidly seizing the Western world, it might happen sooner rather than later. People trying to make a point – no matter how ridiculous their point may be – will always seek high profile targets. And EA/Battlefield are pretty high profile.

    Regardless of social trends, however, the fatigue risk is there. It happened with Guitar Rock Band Hero Singer, and finally with WoW and WoW-Alikes, the which EA learned the hard way with SWTOR. It will, eventually, happen with Shooters, too, once the next big trend comes along. And I don’t think EA can afford to be that late, to yet another party.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Put another, simpler way: There is a trend in modern video gaming toward bigger, more open world and exploration in gaming, at a time when EA are using gorgeous engines to railroad people down narrow corridors, all the while either failing to notice the trends (again) or hoping they are but a fleeting flight of fancy (again), while mumbling ‘they’ll be back, they’ll love us in the morning’ from their growing place in the unemployment line.

      • kwyjibo says:

        I think you’re wrong in regards to gun culture, and wrong in regards to there being a trend towards open-world exploration.

    • Phantoon says:

      Anti-gun? People are pretty set in their views on the second amendment, so I’m gonna need a source for that.

      And anyways, EA doesn’t ever learn. It just buys someone that does it better, then metaphorically shoots them in the head.

    • misterT0AST says:

      Stop calling the USA “the Western World”. You can’t really speak of a “new anti-gun culture” elsewhere.

      • Bremze says:

        Well, “being Anti-Gun” is called “being normal” in the rest of the western world, so he kind of has a point.

      • Tuor says:

        There is no “new anti-gun culture”. There is an old anti-gun culture that recently became much more shrill and aggressive, but they’re the same people as before with the same goals as before.

  13. Entitled says:

    Fuckin’ banzai!

  14. Sian says:

    “as we focus on delivering great games” – might want to get onto that. It sounds like a good idea.

  15. AlienMind says:

    EA, get off the leisure software clusterfuckbundled with a micropayment-happy shop software required to be run on my machine to execute. Then we can talk financially.

  16. kwyjibo says:

    I think their most recent big fuckup has been SimCity, but The Old Republic probably did the most damage.

    Dead Space and Army of Two dying probably added to that.

  17. Shooop says:

    The industry shakedown we’ve been overdue for may finally be arriving.

    It’s about time.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Nah, it started with THQ. It’s only going to get worse from here on out though.

      AAA industry crash in 3…2…1…

    • scatterlogical says:

      One can only dream. I have the feeling that most of the people who got canned are probably not the ones ultimately responsible for EA’s numerous fuckups. That would just be too logical. No, they’re more likely scapegoats for the fatcats, axed so that EA can look like to their investors like they’re actually doing something about their problems without actually doing anything useful.
      Unfortunately what that leaves us with is a publisher that lacks even more in talent than before. It’s kinda like natural selection, only if animals ate their offspring for looking too handsome or being too strong.

  18. 1Life0Continues says:

    EA Exec: I don’t understand. We bought up companies with successful records and IP’s and we gutted them. We used those IP’s and made hollow, DRM laden, microtransaction and DLC riddled games out of them, and made no attempt to understand what customers liked about those franchises before we bought them, and yet they *STILL* aren’t buying our games. Man, we keep screwing these people over and they’re starting to hate us. I don’t get it.

    What? An independent games journalism site from the UK wants to ask us probing and cutting questions about why SimCity is shit? They know the simulation is a basically a sequential if/then/else statement and they want to know why we force online connectivity when none is required because of that simple statement?

    Responding to those inquiries would only let people know how terrible we are as a company, and people don’t need to know that. Just hang up on the journalists. Oh, and find a few extra ways to wring money out of people on smartphones and tablets. Sure, the games are hollow and pointless, but dammit that’s our majority capital, we need to keep those people pawing at their screens like lobotomised chumps. What? Chimps? No, our customers aren’t chimps. Chimps are smarter.

  19. kibble-n-bullets says:

    It’s not like fewer studios directly equate to smaller studio’s with smaller budgets that won’t prohibit risk or encourage homogenization.

    It also must feel awkward to be so appreciated that you’re not worth your salary anymore.

  20. Upper Class Twit says:

    I wasn’t aware EA was way into the mobile business. I thought they were all about mega franchise triple AAA games.

    Also, that statement: “new technologies and mobile”. Is that supposed to mean EA is wants to focus less on said mega franchises? That is their identity at this point, but it would also kind of make sense. They’ve been getting burned chasing Activision/Blizzard for years now. What with some new leadership coming in, I feel like they might start looking at some straight cost/benefit min-maxing type options. Really low risk stuff. Facebook perhaps?

    Its weird how fast the industry is changing. New consoles are coming out and the big dogs don’t seem to know where the money is anymore. Looks like there’s a financial storm a’brewin in videogame land.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Sigh. Internet comments. You have no clue what you’re talking about.

      They JUST closed a bunch of Facebook games. Your armchair business strategist license is revoked.

      • Upper Class Twit says:

        Christ dude, my bad. That was why I was asking. Cause I DIDN’T KNOW. Thanks for the information though. Really helpful.

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          Where do you think you’re going? The punching isn’t anywhere near finished. Get back in the bag!

        • Samwise Gamgee says:

          That was the conclusion I drew from the statement too, that their focus may be shifting from AAA gaming into other areas. Facebook is just a website and there are a heck of a lot of new technologies emerging so that fact that they closed a few facebook games doesn’t really prove anything other than they made a few bad facebook games.

          • Upper Class Twit says:

            I haven’t been paying attention to that side of their business, what with facebook being the downfall of Western civilization and whatnot, but, as Mr. Joyless so eloquently and gracefully put it, it looks like they’re not focusing on that after all. But the question remains, what the hell does “new technologies” mean. Next gen? Tablets? Motion control? And more importantly, what does that shift mean for all their “much beloved” (among communities that are not RPS, apparently) game franchises.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            what the hell does “new technologies” mean.

            I suspect it means they’re chasing mobile/tablet gaming since that’s where the new frontier of gaming cash seems to be right now. Whether it’ll still be there by the time EA get there is anyones guess.

        • Flavioli says:

          You must be new to the Internet. Didn’t you know? Everyone in the internet is supposed to know everything about everything and always be right. And as long as you’re right, you’re never being a dick about it! It’s quite the magical place.

  21. eclipse mattaru says:

    OK, first let’s get the PC disclaimer out of the way: Blah blah blah, my heart and all sympathy towards those about to hit the unemployment line and whatnot. Good luck out there.

    With that out of the way, I can’t see this as something bad. It would seem like EA is finally falling by its own weight, and that can only mean good things for the industry. The way I see it, we’re finally at the long overdue point when only the studios that work smart can hope to survive.

    Looking forward to some more short-sighted AAA publishers with ridiculously overbloated marketing departments to follow suit. The good ones seem to be doing pretty fine, so it’s aaaaaall gooooooood. Some of them even seem pretty happy about their situation, go figure.

    • Beemann says:

      I kinda doubt EA is going to actually tank. This looks more like the same sort of studio shedding Activision did, which included layoffs at Radical and its effective shutdown… as well as more of the same sort of shedding EA has been doing over the past few years
      They’ll probably just fall back on less inventive ideas, and shut down the slightly less cringeworthy portions of their company (like EA partners, from which games like Shank emerged).

      It’ll also probably mean that any old franchises will not really be dusted off, and any franchises that failed in more recent “modernized” reboots (lookin’ at you MoH) will continue to collect dust. We won’t see those come back unless EA feels it’s profitable to reboot them, or unless EA dies… because there’s no way EA is going to stop sitting on its nest of intellectual eggs on the off chance that someone wants to make an omelette

  22. Samwise Gamgee says:

    “These are hard but essential changes as we focus on delivering great games and showing players around the world why to spend their time with us.”

    Just look at that statement. They don’t want to encourage, to persuade, to impress, to ask players around the world to spend their time with them, they want to SHOW you why you should spend your time with them. Meaning if you don’t like them you are wrong, still, and must be corrected.

  23. WastedYeti says:

    Maybe this is the end of Origin!

    • Lukasz says:

      Why should it? Maybe it is sign for Origin to be better so it can actually stop Steam expansion?
      or do you want one company to control your PC game habits?

      It’s awful that people get fired, it is awful that studios are being closed…. expected tough. If EA loses relevance we are left with activision… Do they do anything cringe worthy, hate inducing these days?

      • Don Reba says:

        I don’t want Steam to have a monopoly on game distribution, but to have EA in charge of any part of it is even less appealing. Even if Steam stops playing nice, I have a hard time imagining it becoming as bad as EA. I would much rather see GoG grow.

        • solidsquid says:

          That’s kind of the thing, although Steam has become ubiquitous with the idea of digital distribution, there are other sources for games which developers can go through. They might not get as much publicity directly from the sales front, but there are other options if Steam decides to go ape shit in some way. For now at least it isn’t quite a monopoly (it’s close, but not quite)

  24. Wombats says:

    I still can’t install BF3.
    Haven’t touched anything EA except for Mass Effect since then.
    This is what you get for shoe horning Origin in and treating your customers like idiots.

  25. shutter says:

    Wow, this thread (and to an extent the news post itself) represent the massive disconnect between what gamers really really wish was losing money (which lets be honest is what drives layoffs), and what actually is losing money.

    Look at what they’re shutting down and what they’re keeping:

    Going:
    Anything to do with Facebook, 2nd tier titles that didn’t meet targets (MOH, Army of Two)

    Staying:
    New Technologies (which means Gen 4, Origin, and DLC because that’s what passes for new tech/business models in this industry), Mobile

    Not mentioned (so probably staying)
    Maxis, F2P SWTOR

    Anything on the first list is probably losing money, anything on the second is probably making bank, everything else is probably breaking even. Which means all the big hobbyhorses (SWTOR, Always on, Origin, Paid DLC) probably have no bearing on this decision at all.

    • Consumatopia says:

      “Staying” doesn’t mean EA’s making money, it means someone else is making money doing that EA wants to too. (Or that EA hopes to make money in the future–EA obviously isn’t making bank on Gen 4 yet.) EA doesn’t believe in comparative advantage.

      “Going” means that the somebody else who used to make money doing it (e.g. Zynga) is losing money too.

      Might as well keep SWTOR. It’s development is sunk cost.

      If they had made a SimCity that didn’t suck, one that the community and critics actually liked, it probably would have been comparable to The Sims in long term revenue. People would be buying new copies and DLC for years rather than weeks.

      • Brun says:

        WTF is Gen 4? Is that supposed to be the new consoles? That’s Gen 8 son, consoles didn’t start with the PSX.

  26. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    Popcap vancouver was responsible for this atrocity so good for them

  27. geldonyetich says:

    If there’s one thing Electronic Arts is notoriously good at, it’s absorbing studios and shutting them down later. But, every time it happens, some gamers don’t forget. Remember Bullfrog? A lot of us do.

    I still haven’t forgotten when they pulled the plug on Ultima Online 2 (and let go a whole division of Origin employees) because they decided it would compete with their own game. Who does that?! Who pays to have a sequel developed only to pull the floor out from under it because they decided they didn’t want to develop a sequel, after all?!

    It eventually reached the point where EA’s reputation was so tarnished among their potential customers that they started trying to improve their conduct. However, between their emphasis on DLC (including the notorious its-on-the-DVD-but-you-must-pay-to-access-it gambit) and the Sims “always online mandatory features” turning it into a launch day disaster, they’ve really been backsliding in the customer faith department as of late.

    • newguy2012 says:

      I feel sorry for the people losing their jobs, but the day EA ceases to exist I will celebrate. Few companies in the gaming world have destroyed so many studios and franchises. They are also completly unable to fathom what they are doing wrong and keep to their trusty “pump out more crap games as fast as possible” model to make money.

      I really hope they go out of business, the gaming industry would be a better place without EA.

    • solidsquid says:

      As of late? They’ve become more obvious about the things they’re doing, sure, but they’ve been screwing over the games industry for a long time

  28. Arithon says:

    EA “Did it their way” and customers left. Games didn’t sell. Now jobs are lost. “Cut the payroll, keep the profit” seems to be their plan, but that’s more of the same, which can only lead to more of the same result. Soon (I hope) they will lack the resource to produce any profitable games and they’ll fold.
    Once the light sucking giant has fallen, there will be a space for something better to grow in its place.
    Such as Bullfrog Productions, Distinctive Software, Origin Systems, Maxis, Criterion Games, DICE, Studio 33, etc. – all killed off or bought out and turned in the developer equivalent of The Stepford Wives…

  29. Crosmando says:

    Burn EA, rape their women, steal their kids!

  30. SuicideKing says:

    Battlefield 5 will have the next iDevice as its lead platform.

  31. Text_Fish says:

    Do revolving doors have hinges or axles?

  32. Megakoresh says:

    I am sure these people will find work in no time. In this industry experience is one of the most valued qualities. Can’t be happy about devs loosing jobs, but it’s hard not to be happy seeing EA pay for how they treat their customers.