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Report: Layoffs Hit EA Studios Including Tiburon, Black Box, Redwood Shores, Mythic
Report: Layoffs Hit EA Studios Including Tiburon, Black Box, Redwood Shores, Mythic Exclusive
November 9, 2009 | By Staff

November 9, 2009 | By Staff
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    16 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



[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.


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Comments


Sheridan Layman
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Very sorry to hear about the layoffs. Mythic folks, come on down to Richmond, VA and start your own studio! Or head on over to Maryland - Zenimax Online Studio's is hiring.

Tawna Evans
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I wonder which offices EA plans to keep? Based on this story, it appears that all that remains is EALA, Pandemic, Bioware, and Salt Lake City. https://jobs.ea.com/about/locations/location.aspx?id=1

Derek Smart
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Typical EA.

Ben Hopper
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"Recent industry weakness ..."



Lame excuse. More like: "EA weakness."

Logan Foster
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Give it enough time everything will be consolidated to EA Vancouver an EA Montreal thanks to the tax incentives that are offered in those locations. Now is the time for other governments to put up or lose out big on the next round of media.

Mark Mensch
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Didn't EA have a round of layoffs of their employees after they purchased Mythic too?

Ron Alpert
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hmm. must be that time of the year - happy holidays indeed :/

Josh Green
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@L Foz: That's great except for one problem... EA let go of a fair amount of people from Black Box which happens to be in Canada.

Kai Steinmann
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I worked for EA as a developer for several years. This isn't a new operating procedure. They pretty much work like The Borg. If you know how it works going into it, you can be prepared. My condolonces to the people that didn't know that this is a likely occurance every few years at EA. Normally they wait until March though, so this is a little more odd than usual.

Alan Rimkeit
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So I guess is confirmation for me to never get a job at EA. Yah never know when the old axe is going to fall. Too bad for all those people. 1,500 seems like a lot. I hope they all land on their feet and find jobs soon. Something tells me that is going to be tough these days. :(

Timothy Ryan
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Another strong argument to stop the practice of innovation by acquisition and return to normal third-party developer contracts ... that way if a brand dies they don't have to fire the team and uproot people's lives. Alas, the acquisition of PlayFish just perpetuates the viscous cycle.

Mac Senour
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@Tawna Don't forget Phenomic in Germany... they're responsible for BattleForge.

Kai Steinmann
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The upswing of all this is that, if EA follows pattern, they will be staffing back up in a few months. The more conspiracy theory minded among us might even wager a whisper that it's a shell game for the accountants' benefit.

Tawna Evans
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@Mac Senour I was only looking at the offices in the U.S. Of course, there are other offices in Canada and other parts of the world.

Alec Wasson
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Again, the timing is bad, but the good news is that there is still a demand for senior level talent out in the market. For those of you lost in the transition, reach out to us at VonChurch, and we'll help you land on your feet. Alec 415 404 6700

Eric Kollegger
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@Kai -- I think you hit it on the nose. Although EA is surely looking to scale back their operation permanently, I agree with you that this is partly a way for them to 'cook the books' for quarterly earnings v. personnel. Also what you said is true about this being a yearly cycle--the purse strings will loosen up again around March and we should start seeing an influx of employee's and possibly new intellectual property projects lets hope.


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