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EA lays off workers across multiple studios
EA lays off workers across multiple studios
February 21, 2013 | By Kris Graft

As the game industry continues to rebirth itself amid various transitions in business, Electronic Arts has announced it has laid off a number of workers across various locations.

EA Labels president Frank Gibeau mentioned in a post titled "Transition is our Friend" that layoffs have occurred in multiple studios.

"This week we let some people go in Los Angeles, Montreal as well as in some smaller locations," he wrote in a post that was focused on the ongoing video game console transition.

Gibeau said EA will try to "soften the tough decisions" by offering severance packages and outplacement services to those who lost their jobs.

EA sent the official statement to Gamasutra: "Today EA internally announced some adjustments to select development teams to align staff and skills against priority growth areas, including new technologies and mobile.

"Many employees are being retrained for new positions; however a small number will be released. These are great, talented people and we wish them well. EA is growing globally, and we expect our headcount to increase this year."

A rep for the company declined to disclose the headcount impact on specific teams and studios within EA. Asked about reports that the company is completely shutting down EA Montreal / Visceral Games, the rep said: "EA Montreal is a key development studio where our long-term plan is to sharpen our teams' focus on console and mobile games."

EA Montreal has developed games in the Army of Two action game series (the recent Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is pictured). Visceral Games' work includes the Dead Space series, whose development is led by Visceral's Redwood Shores studio, which is still in operation.

With new consoles from Sony and Microsoft on the horizon, EA and other major video game publishers are dealing with an industry that is seeing rising triple-A development costs, and new customers who are buying games in new ways, and on new digital platforms.

Gibeau pointed out that EA has seen success on iOS and Android mobile platforms, where the company leverages its popular video game properties.

With Sony just announcing the PlayStation 4 last night, and with a new Xbox on the horizon, more change is coming. The executive said the publisher will forge ahead. "Console transitions are a complex and challenging experience. I've helped navigate several and agree with an old saying we have at EA: Transition is our friend."

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Johnny LaVie
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"these are great, talented people and we wish them well. EA is growing globally, and we expect our headcount to increase this year."

Is it me or does that not make any sense?

Maria Jayne
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Yeah....these are great people, we need great people later, right now we don't want to pay you in the interim. Off you go great people.....

What's more depressing is that there will always be great people needing a job, because everybody does the "hire em, fire em" shuffle between projects. If there was a danger of great people not being available because other companies kept them, maybe it would make more sense to value those you have beyond the life of a game dev cycle, sadly this isn't a concern.

Mark Rostien
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It means they're hiring where labor is much cheaper.

Fiore Iantosca
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Ed Macauley
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Translation: "We let go some people whose skills we thought obsolete and that didn't want to take a new job, possibly with lower pay."

TC Weidner
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Their spin is just the worst.

Groove Stomp
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When I last worked at EA, they hired contractors almost exclusively; and I'm certain contractors are not included when referring to layoffs. These are people who are hired on just shy of 1 year contracts, given a 3 month break, then hired on for another year. The hiring is done this way to avoid paying out full-time benefits. Somewhat cheeky. I'm actually curious how this transition affects these "part time" employees, if at all.

Sorin Sandru
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Wounder if this is EA being cheeky or actuall backlash from the past couple of good enough games EA has released.

Alexander Symington
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Euphemism is our friend.

Eric McConnell
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Well it does make sense from a business prospective why they hire and layoff between projects. I am a programmer now, but if I was running a giant, publicly traded studio and had to answer to investor, I would want my margins as high as possible as well.

I wish they would just line of projects in a way that as soon as one ends, the other has already had an early stage and is ready for development to start.

I have a lot of friends who are writers or actors in Hollywood. I consider our business steadier than theirs.

ian stansbury
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Yeah but in Hollywood one small speaking role will pay your bills for the next six months. Not quite sure the same can be said for developers.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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It does not, in fact. Because it means you need to re-hire for your next project. And in this industry, the cost of hiring is huge. The cost of hiring the wrong person is even worst. Also, people work with a lot of custom technology (programmers) and tools (artists). The experience lost when you layoff, and the cost of bringing new people up to speed is very high. Thats reality.

In the imaginary world of balance sheets, of course, it must look good to suddently lower your costs just before the end of fiscal year...

Martin Sabom
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Its almost March. EA lays off every year at this time mostly.