April 14, 2013
EA Montreal Reportedly Lays Off More Than Half Of Workforce
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online
Less than a month after the surprising resignation of former chief executive John Riccitiello, gaming company Electronic Arts (EA) has announced employee layoffs at its Montreal development studio.
A spokesman told Reuters reporter Malathi Nayak the Montreal facility, which is home to a mobile game development team and the studio behind such titles as “Army of Two,” would not be closing.
The representative refused to say which teams would be impacted by the cuts, and EA would not confirm the total number of layoffs. However, Catherine Shu of TechCrunch reports 170 of the 300 employees at the Montreal studio would lose their jobs as a result of the layoffs, and CTV Montreal said “many” of those layoffs were in the mobile gaming division.
“EA has been restructuring its business to take advantage of new gaming platforms,” Shu said. “Despite those moves, EA, along with other game makers, has continued to struggle in the face of competition from free games offered on social networking or mobile platforms.”
Riccitiello, who stepped down on March 30, cited the company´s poor financial performance as the reason for his decision. As he told reporters, “My decision to leave EA 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.”
EA, which is probably most famous for its “Madden” and “Sims” gaming franchises, is currently searching for Riccitiello´s replacement. In the meantime, they have appointed former CEO and Chairman Larry Probst as its executive chairman. Also, last year the company´s PopCap division, which is responsible for social and mobile game development, laid off 50 out of 380 employees in its Seattle and Vancouver offices.
Earlier this month, EA was named the Worst Company in America by The Consumerist.
According to the website, the voters chose the Redwood City, California-based company in order to send a message to them (and to the gaming industry as a whole) to “stop treating your loyal customers like crap” by doing things such as ℠deliberately” holding back content in their products with the sole intent of charging a fee for it at a later date.”