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Electronic Arts is cutting 350 non-development jobs across its business. These layoffs are hitting marketing and analysis departments, according to a source familiar with EA and confirmed by the publisher this morning.
“Today we took some important steps as a company to address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead,” EA chief executive officer Andrew Wilson wrote in a statement. “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.”
Wilson provided some insight into where he was making the cuts.
“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,” said Wilson. “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.”
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Electronic Arts has around 9,000 employees, according to Wilson. That means it has laid off about 4 percent of its workforce. This move mimics the recent layoffs at rival publisher Activision, which cut 8 percent of its jobs despite record financial results.
Electronic Arts has not set record results recently, but it did launch Apex Legends. That free-to-play shooter is one of the most popular games in the battle royale genre, hitting 50 million players in its first month.
But EA likely made these moves as its stock price has fallen from an all-time high of nearly $150 in summer of 2018 to below $80 by the end of 2018.
As part of these layoffs, EA also let go NBA Live community manager THAHOOPGAWD, who has been with EA since at least 2015.
Andrew Wilson’s layoffs
Today’s layoffs are the most significant job cuts at EA since Andrew Wilson took over as CEO in September 2013. Prior to his appointment, EA’s board of directors cut more than 1,000 jobs. Those cuts started under former CEO John Riccitiello, but they continued after his resignation in March 2013.
Those cuts were an effort to give the new CEO a fresh start with a leaner company. Those efforts paid off, at least as far as stock price is concerned. After Wilson took over, EA’s share price climbed consistently until peaking last summer. During that time, Wilson did close studios like Visceral. But the company did not significantly reduce its number of employees.
But in the summer of 2018, investors began noticing EA’s reliance on its EA Sports games and developer DICE. And those products began showing cracks following a consumer backlash regarding lootboxes that affect the Ultimate Team modes in FIFA and Madden. EA even had to pull lootboxes from Star Wars: Battlefront II at Disney’s request following fan outrage.
Then, in the fall of 2018, EA launched Battlefield V to disappointing sales. And with no DICE game due out in 2019, EA’s outlook was looking bleak.
And despite the introduction of the successful Apex Legends, Wilson wants to get back to a leaner business. But this time, he owns it.
“This is a difficult day,” Wilson said. “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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