[UPDATE: As part of its quarterly financial results, Electronic Arts issued a statement confirming it will lay off 1,500 workers by April 2010.]
Gamasutra has learned that major third-party publisher Electronic Arts issued a round of layoffs across its studios ahead of its earnings call this afternoon, with locations including EA Redwood Shores, Tiburon, Mythic, and Black Box affected.
While it's typical for large companies like EA to make a smaller round of layoffs every year, Gamasutra sources have indicated that this year the cuts have been more substantial. The company is likely to make an official announcement in its quarterly earnings report, which is due to debut later today.
EA Black Box is best known as the home for a library of Need for Speed racing games, as well as the well-received Skate franchise. Tiburon is EA's Florida studio responsible for the popular Madden NFL series of sports games. Mythic Entertainment, acquired in 2006, developed the MMO Warhammer Online and also maintains Ultima Online.
EA Redwood Shores is the publisher's headquarters, and is the site of various studios including Visceral Games (Dead Space) and The Sims teams.
Gamasutra sources have indicated that an unspecified number of layoffs did occur at EA Tiburon and Black Box. Separately of this, one former EA worker, Eron Garcia, posted on his Twitter account: "Who just got laid off: a. Me, b. Most of my department, c. HUGE chunks of EA, d. All of the Above."
Another report by Katherine Pitta claims, "Mythic Entertainment...just laid of [sic] 80 people, about 40% of it's [sic] employees." Gamasutra has contacted EA for comment, but specific numbers could not be immediately verified.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said in an EA investor note on Monday, "Recent industry weakness will likely cause the company to lower its full year industry growth expectations to negative 'mid single digits' from 'flat' previously. In addition, we believe the company may take a more proactive role in additional cost cuts and may announce additional restructuring initiatives."
Earlier on Monday, EA announced the $300 million acquisition of social game developer PlayFish, a move that reflects the publisher's ambitions to enter emerging markets beyond traditional packaged goods.