The lights are on
The past seven days have already seen a major shakeup in EA's mobile and social operations. Now, news of more layoffs has surfaced.
According to reports posted by Develop, EA has laid off a significant number of staff at Playfish. Just yesterday, the publisher announced the imminent closure of three titles operated by that studio, including the relatively new SimCity Social. While it doesn't come as a surprise that job loss has followed, it does paint EA's $300 million acquisition of Playfish as a significant blunder.
MCV India is also reporting that EA has laid off 50 employees at it's Hyderabad, India mobile studio. This brings the total job loss to more than an estimated 200 in just one week's time, including the unconfirmed approximately 160 employees let go in Montreal and other locations. The specificity of the number comes from a member of the Nasscom Gaming Forum on Facebook, Udaya Bhaskar.
Bhaskar's LinkedIn profile indicates his employment with EA in Hyderabad.
When approached for comment today, EA reiterated the statement provided last week when layoffs occurred in Montreal.
"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. Streamlining our operations will help ensure EA is bringing the best next-generation games to players around the world."
Additionally, EA told Joystiq that there would be no comment on the status of Playfish.
This move is significant evidence that EA is severely redirecting its focus. The publisher went all-in on mobile and social games with the acquisitions of Popcap (which suffered its own layoffs last year) and Playfish. EA is currently in the midst of a significant leadership transition following the resignation of John Riccitiello last month due to poor financial performance.
Until new, permanent leadership is installed though, it's hard to look at any of these measures as more than bandaids. And given the size of the dressing, the wound underneath is likely worse than anyone yet fully understands.
[Source: Develop, MCV India]
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
It's official. EA will go down on its sinking ship.
But... I thought mobile/social was the future? I have to say it is a good thing that they are bringing in new leadership. Riccitiello had the company chasing it's own tail.
I don't personally think EA is terrible as a company, they just need someone with an excellent, life long understanding of gaming to come in and set the path.
EA have been laying off people in large batches since 2006. Nothing new under the sun.
When EA bought Playfish I was calling stupidity back then. I don't know they expected an increasingly ADD/ADHD American population to stay fixated on Facebook games. Stick with sports games, shooters, and RPGs EA!