Electronic Arts is laying off 5% of its workforce

EA joins the parade of game companies putting people out of work.

Feb 29, 2024 - 02:30
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Electronic Arts is laying off 5% of its workforce

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson announced today that the company is "advancing the way we work and continuing to evolve our business," and by that he means it will be laying off approximately 5% of its workforce.

Wilson's message begins with a triumphant note about how EA is "entertaining, inspiring, and connecting more people with more content and deeper experiences than ever before." He goes on to say that previous restructuring efforts at EA, specifically leadership changes announced in 2023, "have positioned us to build bigger, bolder experiences for hundreds of millions of players and fans around the world."

Then he really kicks it into gear: "As a company full of creators and storytellers, we believe in the value of teams innovating together, and continue to learn and adopt new ways of collaborating to grow and serve our global communities." That sounds good, right? Well, it's not.

After noting that EA is "continuing to optimize our global real estate footprint to best support our business," and will sunset unspecified games and "move away from development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry," he finally gets to the heart of the matter.

"We are streamlining our company operations to deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans everywhere that build community, shape culture, and grow fandom," Wilson said. "In this time of change, we expect these decisions to impact approximately 5 percent of our workforce."

The number of employees being let go was not specified, but a March 2023 SEC filing put EA's global headcount at approximately 13,400, meaning roughly 670 people could be impacted. That number isn't final: Wilson said EA will try to find "new roles" for employees where possible, and "communicating these impacts," which I guess is C-suite-speak for telling people they don't have a job anymore, won't be complete until sometime in the company's next fiscal quarter.

Electronic Arts has leaned heavily into licensed games in recent years, particularly with Disney-owned properties including Star Wars and Marvel. It's unclear whether Wilson's reference to moving away from licensed games includes projects that are currently in the works, but a rep confirmed with GamesIndustry that the previously-announced Iron Man and Black Panther games are still in the works.

The announcement of layoffs at Electronic Arts comes just hours after Deck Nine Games said it will be cutting 20% of its staff, and continues a year that has been nothing short of catastrophic for employees in the industry. 2023 was a terrible year and 2024 is already on track to beat it: Sony announced plans to lay off 900 employees yesterday while esports company ESL Faceit Group said it will cut 15% of its workforce, and the day before that Supermassive laid out plays to lay off roughly 90 of its employees. Blackbird Interactive, Twitch, Riot, Behaviour Interactive, and Microsoft have also made significant staffing cuts this year.