Video game developer and distributor Electronic Arts, better known as EA, is laying off 350 of its 9,000 employees, or 3.9 percent, globally, reports The Verge. The layoffs will primarily impact marketing and publishing, but EA will also be ramping down its operations in Japan and Russia. Considering the company’s third quarter fiscal year 2019 results for the period ended December 31, 2018, this should not come as a surprise.
“The video game industry continues to grow through a year of intense competition and transformational change,” said CEO Andrew Wilson in a February 5 news release. “Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our executive and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players. We’re very excited about Apex Legends, the upcoming launch of Anthem, and a deep line-up of new experiences that we’ll bring to our global communities next fiscal year.”
In the earnings release, COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen said the company would be making adjusts to improve execution and refocusing research and development, along with launching Anthem, growing Apex Legends and related titles.
Kotaku got a copy of an email sent by Wilson to employees about the decision. He told them that, in addition to streamlining marketing and publishing, the overall goal was to improve customer support and realize other efficiencies throughout the company. EA shared a statement with Kotaku when asked for comment.
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“Today we took some important steps as a company to address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead. As we look across a changing world around us, it’s clear that we must change with it. We’re making deliberate moves to better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs of our players,” the statement said.
“…in addition to organizational changes, we are deeply focused on increasing quality in our games and services. Great games will continue to be at the core of everything we do, and we are thinking differently about how to amaze and inspire our players,” said EA.
“This is a difficult day. The changes we’re making today will impact about 350 roles in our 9,000-person company. These are important but very hard decisions, and we do not take them lightly. We are friends and colleagues at EA, we appreciate and value everyone’s contributions, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we are looking after our people to help them through this period to find their next opportunity. This is our top priority.”
EA has several subscription services for its games, including EA Access for Xbox for $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year, and Origin Access Basic ($4.99 a month or $29.99 a year) and Premium ($14.99 a month or $99.99 a year) for PC gamers.
In February, another gaming company – Activision Blizzard cut close to 800 jobs, or about 8 percent of the company’s staff, reports TechCrunch.
This is unfortunate for the employees laid off, but as a small percentage of the company’s overall workforce, this seems like a rightsizing approach to help the company stay profitable in an ever-increasing competitive marketplace. With tech giants like Apple getting into the gaming business, every dollar saved is one that can be invested in new games or improved services.