Report: Unspecified Number of Employees Hit By EA Layoffs
UPDATED: Scroll to the bottom to read.
Less than a month into the new fiscal year, matters behind the scenes at Electronic Arts appear as tumultuous as they did in 2012, as a new round of layoffs have reportedly hit employees hard.
In a vaguely worded statement posted this morning on its site, EA has confirmed that an unspecified number of employees have been let go. “In recent weeks, EA has aligned all elements of its organizational structure behind priorities in new technologies and mobile,” the statement reads. “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.”
The statement does not reveal the number of employees let go, nor the afflicted divisions, but rumors about the scope of the layoffs have already begun to flood the Internet. Multiple reports suggest that as much as 10 percent of EA’s worldwide workforce, around 900 employees, has been culled. Other reports claim the news is far worse, with as many as 2,000 employees affected by the layoffs.
It should be noted that those numbers are not verified, but EA employees are already taking to Twitter to confirm some of today’s victims. Michael Elliott, Quality Assurance Lead at Electronic Arts, has revealed that Quicklime Games, part of EA Canada, has been completely shuttered. “Quicklime studio, where I work within EA, has been shut down,” he says. “All employees have been laid off. I am part of QA, so I might move on.”
These layoffs follow reports from last week of layoffs at EA’s Galway, Ireland call center and at EA India. Meanwhile, sources with knowledge of the matter have told Game Front that today’s layoffs will affect, in part, marketing staff across a number of EA properties. We’ve also been informed that in a repeat of this time last year, Popcap is among the affected divisions. In addition, Game Informer is reporting that EA Partners has also been killed.
The fiscal year that ended March 31 was particularly rough for Electronic Arts; a series of high-profile fiascos and an exodus of talent ultimately forced the resignation of CEO John Riccitiello. It’s no surprise then that the company is taking decisive action to right the listing ship. But if the scope of today’s layoffs is as wide as reports suggest, Electronic Art’s next quarterly earnings call, scheduled for May 7, 2013, is likely to contain some grim news about the company’s overall health.
On the bright side, for EA, at least, investors are apparently happy. As of this writing, EA stock has risen about 1 percent since the layoffs were announced. That’s cold comfort for people now out of work, but it appears, for now, that EA isn’t on the way to becoming another THQ.
UPDATE 3:38 PM: The internal memo sent out this morning by interim EA CEO Larry Probst that explains the company’s position on the layoffs has, unsurprisingly, been leaked online. We post it here in full to give you a sense of what the company wants spared employees to take away from today’s events.
FROM LARRY PROBST
As we begin the new fiscal year, I want to provide you with a brief update on some important changes to our organization. As Executive Chairman, my focus is to ensure EA is delivering high quality games and services to our consumers, while helping the executive team develop a FY14 operating plan that drives growth, rationalizes headcount and controls costs.
In recent weeks, the executive team has been tasked with evaluating every area of our business to establish a clear set of priorities, and a more efficient organizational structure. This process has led to some difficult decisions about the number of people and locations needed to achieve our goals.
The workforce reductions which we communicated in the last two weeks represent the majority of our planned personnel actions. We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by each of these individuals – they will be missed by their colleagues and friends at EA.
We are also taking action to streamline our organization, including changes in two key areas:
· Core marketing functions have been consolidated under our COO, Peter Moore. The combined group will bring together our Label marketing teams, Global Acquisition Marketing and Marketing Analytics into one multi-talented team under Todd Sitrin’s leadership. The development and marketing teams will continue to work as cohesive units, driving clear and consistent messaging and consumer engagement for each of our franchises.
· Origin will move into Frank Gibeau’s Labels organization. Andrew Wilson will take on the leadership of Origin, working with CJ Prober and the team to create more value and an enhanced entertainment experience for our consumers.
Change is sometimes difficult, but essential. The adjustments we are making will put us in the best position to build great games and services, deliver them more efficiently to consumers, and demonstrate to players around the world why they should spend their time with us.
EA is a great company, with talented and hard-working teams, a strong portfolio of products and an extremely bright future.
Thank you all for your dedication and commitment to our long term success!