Following redundancies at Square Enix and Slant Six Games earlier this month, EA have become the latest company to lay off staff, specifically from its mobile segment in Montreal. It’s been a testing month for the American based industry giant, what with the resignation of CEO John Riccitiello on March 30 and the turbulent launch of SimCity after an eleven year hiatus.
In a statement, here’s what the company had to say:
“EA is sharpening its focus to provide games for new platforms and mobile. In some cases, this involves reducing team sizes as we evolve into a more efficient organization. These are difficult decisions to let go of good people who have made important contributions to EA, and whenever possible we retrain or relocate employees to new roles.”
Though it’s too early to call this a statement of intent, these redundancies come only two months after a round of cuts that affected the company’s studio in Los Angeles, which lends credence to the developer becoming a more efficient organisation in the wake of “achieving” the ‘Worst Company In America’ for a second consecutive year. It’s worth noting, however, that this was based on a consumer poll and, quite frankly, is a sensationalised statement to attach to a company whose worse sins include day-one-DLC and server shutdowns.
Of course, layoffs are nothing new for the gaming industry. March marked the end of the fiscal year for many countries, which is often followed by companies carrying out internal assessments on the ins-and-outs of their respective business. Unfortunately, though, it also conveys the increasingly market-orientated nature of the industry as a whole. Targets have to be hit and shareholders have to be pleased. Plus, when you consider that Tomb Raider didn’t match sales expectations, despite the fact that it broke the record for being the best selling game in the franchise, it pretty much epitomises the pressurised modern environment in which games are developed.
In his departure letter to the company, John Riccitiello echoed many of these monetary strains,
“My decision to leave the company is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.”
What do you make of the latest lay offs for EA? Is the company simply restructuring ahead of the forthcoming shift to next-gen? Or is it a telling sign of the gaming industry’s unforgiving milieu? Let us know below!