Over 200 Apex Legends QA testers have been abruptly laid off by EA
The lay offs took place over a Zoom call, after a night shift
On Tuesday, EA abruptly laid off over 200 quality assurance testers at their LA office Baton Rouge, who were primarily working on their free-to-play battle royale Apex Legends. This news comes from a report by Kotaku which says the layoffs happened over a last-minute Zoom call, according to three of their sources. EA later confirmed the news, calling the layoffs part of their “ongoing global strategy” to expand the “distribution of our Apex Legends testing team.”
The 8am Zoom call was reportedly an unscheduled mandatory meeting, taking place just hours after some QA staff finished a night shift. The 200 layoffs account for every QA tester at the Baton Rouge studio, as one former tester took to Twitter to write, “EA just fired its entire Baton Rouge studio, which is essentially their entire Apex Legends QA staff.” They continue to say, “They’ve been slowly hiring at studios elsewhere but none of those people have any experience with the title.”
Affected staff were allowed to collect their belongings from the studio and are getting 60 days severance pay, but Kotaku claims many tester’s contracts covered a longer length of time that the severance package doesn't account for.
In a statement, EA didn’t directly address the layoffs, but they sheepishly explained that the change “enables us to increase the hours per week we’re able to test,” as testing for Apex Legends will be decentralised and spread out to other teams. EA’s full statement can be read below:
As part of our ongoing global strategy, we are expanding the distribution of our Apex Legends testing team and ending testing execution that’s been concentrated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, impacting services provided by our third-party provider. Our global team, inclusive of remote playtesters across the U.S., enables us to increase the hours per week we’re able to test and optimize the game and reflects a commitment to understand and better serve our growing community around the world.
These layoffs mirror last year’s cuts at EA’s customer service teams based in Austin - work that was also outsourced to global teams in Europe and India.
This comes not long after EA shuttered the mobile port of Apex Legends, and suspended development on a Battlefield mobile port. The publisher also cancelled a single-player game set in the Titanfall and Apex Legends universe for unknown reasons.