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EA Laying Off 350 People, About 4% of Staff

Electronic Arts is laying off about 350 of its 9,000-person staff, CEO Andrew Wilson announced in a blog post on its website Tuesday.

In the brief, open letter, Wilson noted that the move was made to “address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead,” and to “better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs of our players.”

Specifically, Wilson said changes are being made to its marketing and publishing organization, operations teams and that the company is “ramping down our current presence in Japan and Russia.”

“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.”

You can read the full letter at the bottom of this story.

The news comes about a bit more than a month after Activision Blizzard announced it was laying off about 800 people as part of a major restructuring.

Activision called the move a de-prioritizing of initiatives that didn’t meet expectations. CEO Bobby Kotick said that the cuts would come from support staff while the company consolidates its commercial operations and reorganizes its marketing initiatives. Activision will be instead investing more in live services, Battle.net, eSports, and advertising efforts. More than 200 of those impacted worked at Blizzard.

“While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential,” Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard said in an earnings report statement.

Electronic Arts own earnings call in February was bleak, with Wilson noting that the “Battlefield 5” missed its third-quarter prediction by about a million, something he blamed on bad marketing and the need to delay the game to make it better.

“If I think about ‘Battlefield 5’ more holistically, I think we did not do a great job of building momentum early in the project,” he said at the time. “And I think about this not just in the context of development but I think about this in the context about broader execution against the entire campaign. Our launch didn’t resonate strongly as we would have liked it to with players and we were never truly able to catch-up and as our competitors continued to build momentum whether that was ‘Fortnite’ or ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ or ‘Call of Duty.’”

While the demo for EA’s massive space opera game “Anthem” exceeded expectations, the game didn’t do well at launch, running into launch day issues, poor reviews, and lots of fan pushback about the way loot worked in the game.

The massive layoffs hitting EA Tuesday are sure to stoke the continued debate around unions and the video game industry.

The Activision Blizzard layoffs led to some calling for Kotick’s dismissal, and just a month ago, the annual list of “overpaid CEOs” by As You Sow included both Kotick and Wilson.

UPDATING OUR ORGANIZATION AND ADDRESSING OUR CHALLENGES

“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.  As part of this, we have made changes to our marketing and publishing organization, our operations teams, and we are ramping down our current presence in Japan and Russia as we focus on different ways to serve our players in those markets.  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.

“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.”

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