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!

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7 Comments on Report: Unspecified Number of Employees Hit By EA Layoffs

R.J.

On April 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

That’s a pretty big shake up. It’s always disappointing to see people losing their jobs, especially since that always has a ripple effect that companies just don’t seem to care about because it cuts costs right now.

The end of EA partners is also disappointing since it was part of what made it at least seem like EA was trying to become something other than the company that drove studios and series into the ground. Then again, that didn’t really work out so well. Wishful thinking would suggest that EA might finally be realizing it needs a genuine change in philosophy, but the track record of most corporations that do this sort of thing suggests that it will get more conservative with future projects because anything new will be “too risky.”

KiriONE

On April 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I don’t see it as a that big of a shake up. This looks to be more of a consolidation and restructuring that was probably well overdue. When you hear “10% of layoffs” and it’s followed up by 2 departmental restructurings, it’s pretty clear where the axes were brought down. Marketing and Sales (origin) are always 2 departments that have a huge amount of overhead and staff for what they do. I bet the marketing department was easily larger than a number of developers under EA’s umbrella combined.

I’d liken this move similar to Yahoo!, another out-of-touch company from a bygone era of digital struggling to right the ship.

While there’s no reason for Probst to mention it, it’s worth noting that the letter sales basically NOTHING about improving the experience for gamers and the games EA publishes.

Fart

On April 26, 2013 at 4:50 am

EA is dying a slow death anyway so it might be an act of unintentional mercy for those that have lost their jobs.

Patches

On April 26, 2013 at 5:35 am

I’m at a point that I think, the quicker these things happens(Layoffs, closing partnership, closing studios, etc…), the quicker EA will bankrupt…

I only hope that when they’ll close and sell their IP (like THQ), more competent companies will bought them and finally turn these IPs into games we actually want to play, without all the BS like multiplayer-only, microtransactions or always online DRMs (yeah, yeah, they says it’s only because it’s a multiplayer game, no DRM. But do we believe them? Credibility quite low these days…)…

JawaEsteban

On April 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm

EA’s probably not gonna completely crumble any time soon, FIFA and Madden bring in too much money for that to happen. What could happen though is if they keep getting the door slammed on their nose by the gaming community with other titles, shareholders may exert enough pressure that EA just abandons the FPS/Survival Horror/RPG genres entirely. The company could happily restructure itself to producing sports and social media games only, which sometimes seems like it might be the plan all along.

That, or they start importing and distributing heroin. Big profit margin and they’ve already got the right ethics for the industry.

Kevin

On April 26, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Jawa,

They are always looking for new revenue!

And I’ve honestly been saying that they might as well become just a sports/mobile company, or declare bankruptcy and spin off that stuff and jettison everything else. It’s the only part of their portfolio which is actually profitable. (Mass Effect 3 took a long time to break even, DA2 lost a bit of money, TOR lost a crap ton of money, etc.)

W.D.

On April 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I feel for the people that are now jobless,but this is what happens when a multimillion dollar company rips off there customers.