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Electronic Arts is one of the best-performing game makers on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and now the company is shifting around its developers to bring them together under one unit to help consolidate its position.
The publisher revealed today that it has formed EA Worldwide Studios and moved the development house DICE’s Frostbite graphics team outside of that group and into the company’s central technology team. In a blog post today, EA chief executive Andrew Wilson explained that this shakeup is meant to help it deliver better content to more people around the world across a wider variety of devices. Former EA Studios vice president Patrick Söderlund will now take on the role of executive vice president in charge of EA Worldwide Studios. The heads of every studio within the publisher will now report to him, and they will work together to create new properties while maximizing the value of the company’s current brands.
GamesBeat confirmed with EA that this did not result in any layoffs.
EA’s games are among the top-selling releases for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Its sports franchises like FIFA and Madden are perennial best-sellers, and its blockbuster action adventures like Battlefield 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Star Wars: Battlefront have all shipped millions of copies. But the company is still behind in the $36.6 billion mobile gaming industry, where Machine Zone, Supercell, and King (all of which made games either for social networks or phones and tablets) have established a stranglehold. And now, EA competitors like Activision and Tencent are breaking into mobile with marquee acquisitions of the aforementioned King and Supercell, respectively.
With games like Madden NFL Mobile and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, EA is climbing its way into mobile, but its organizational shakeup could help it deliver even more of that. Under this new structure, EA Mobile and Maxis will no longer act as entities separate from the rest of the publisher’s studios. Instead, senior vice president Samantha Ryan will continue to oversee those developers, but she will now report to Söderlund. Ryan is also now the leader of Mass Effect developer BioWare.
“At a time when players are engaged in games across more devices, the tenets of making great HD and mobile experiences are converging,” Wilson explained in the language of CEO-speak on EA’s blog. “Our ability to blend our strengths to deliver amazing games across genres, geographies, and platforms, in a networked environment, is central to our future success. EA Worldwide Studios will bring together our top creative talent in all of our great studios to work on EA’s powerful brand portfolio and new IP.”
To translate, EA wants Söderlund — who has risen in the ranks at the company since founding DICE and the publisher’s acquisition of the studio in 2006 — to guide all of its gaming efforts. The company wants all of its studios working together to developer console, PC, and mobile games that take advantage of every advancement any EA studio makes.
The Frostbite team’s move is also part of that strategy. Previously, DICE oversaw the graphics engine under the EA Studios label. But now, EA chief technology officer Ken Moss will have the Frostbite group working alongside the publisher’s other software tech systems that include back-end platforms and infrastructure for games-as-a-service.
“Our drive to power everything we do at EA with world-class technology has never been stronger,” Wilson wrote. “Players expect innovative, stable, and secure experiences, and the strong combination of our Frostbite engine and our digital platform will make this possible.”
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