EA Heavily Cuts Jobs at Mythic, Tiburon, Black Box and Redwood

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EA Heavily Cuts Jobs at Mythic, Tiburon, Black Box and Redwood

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Publishing giant EA has reportedly made severe layoffs at several of its studios including Mythic, Redwood Shores, Black Box and Madden developer Tiburon, with early estimates putting the number of jobs lost at a staggering 1500.

The announcement that Electronic Arts would be making cuts at a number of its satellite studios hit the gaming blogs earlier today, specifically targeting four development houses in particular. Virginia-based EA Mythic, developer and operator of Warhammer Online and Ultima Online, reportedly suffered losses of 80 employees - approximately 40% of its work force, according to a Tweet from Mythic volunteer Katherine Pitta.

Those laid off at Mythic are hardly alone, however. EA Black Box, developer of the Need For Speed and Skate series, also reportedly suffered cuts. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, though, are the reports of layoffs at EA Tiburon and EA Redwood Shores. The former is the developer of the hugely popular Madden NFL games, and though initial sales of Madden '10 were sluggish and "discouraging," even a slow year for Madden would be considered wildly successful for almost any other game out there. EA Redwood Shores, on the other hand, is the company's HQ, home to studios that developed games like Dead Space and the hugely popular Sims franchise.

This news came in advance of the company's quarterly earnings call, through rumors and via Twitter, like a particular Tweet from former EA staff member Eron Garcia: "Who just got laid off: a. Me, b. Most of my department, c. HUGE chunks of EA, d. All of the Above." Though it is not uncommon for studios to go through yearly layoffs to trim the fat after completion of the season's big holiday games, the perception of these layoffs is that they are significantly more severe than they might have been otherwise. The reports follow the announcement that EA would be buying casual gaming studio Playfish for $300 million.

Early estimates place the number of jobs lost at an unfortunately high 1500, though we will revise as necessary as more accurate information comes in. Best of luck to any of our readers with the misfortune to be caught in the cuts.

(Via GamaSutra)

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I'm trying to decide between "Wow" and "Holy shi-"

That's a lot of jobs when you consider some teams are only 200~ large.

I bet Bioware aren't being laid off.

Thats it boy's, work on that cash cow some more for daddy.

Dayum. There goes any chance of returning to Warhammer Online... time to wait for the 40k version.

Even EA is cutting jobs? What does that mean for smaller developers? I really hope 2K doesn't start laying people off, lest they screw up Bioshock 2 with a lack of team members, although Borderlands should keep them going for quite a while.

Holy shit. That is bad.

Well, Bioware is intact so it's not all bad. I'm guessing they are cutting from departments and studios that are either overstaffed or underperforming (I'm looking at you, Mythic).

Jesus...That's just cruel.

Fuck me thats a lot. My heart goes out to them.

Damn you economic downturn goat!

My thoughts are with the folks who got pink-slipped today. Hope you land well.

I blame...well I can't think of anything to blame.

Not that surprising if the reports on their financial losses are correct. It just a pity that they made their most profits when the gaming community despised them for putting out the same game year after year, and then a year after they start to actually change and release new IP's (ie. Mirror Edge, Dead Space etc.) all the get is a kick in the crotch from the economy. Sucks for all the dudes and gals that got laid off, can't be easy, especially before christmas.

What?! You mean we won't get any more Madden games? NOOOOOO

Nah, I'm kidding. This is too bad for those developers. I hope they can find work elsewhere.

Did they never think that they could save on costs by halving the amount of sports games they made and then keep all those guys employed

Acidwell:
Did they never think that they could save on costs by halving the amount of sports games they made and then keep all those guys employed

Less income =/= jobs.

Acidwell:
Did they never think that they could save on costs by halving the amount of sports games they made and then keep all those guys employed

You realize that statement makes entirely no sense. You might not like them, but those games are still profitable enough to warrant them continuing to make them. So halving the amount of your profitable product would only force them to further fire more people.

Slycne:

Acidwell:
Did they never think that they could save on costs by halving the amount of sports games they made and then keep all those guys employed

You realize that statement makes entirely no sense. You might not like them, but those games are still profitable enough to warrant them continuing to make them. So halving the amount of your profitable product would only force them to further fire more people.

Also isn't EA Tiburon's reason for existance most of the EA Sports Games?

I wonder what ever happened to the old idea of companies watching our for their employees and even helping them out through the bad times. EA has made such ridiculous amounts of money in the past I'd have hoped they'd suck up a lot of problems before laying off that many people.

I feel sorry for those losing their jobs.

Jandau:
I'm guessing they are cutting from departments and studios that are either overstaffed or underperforming (I'm looking at you, Mythic).

I wouldn't say Mythic were 'under-performing'. Warhammer Online from what I can tell was a good game, its just people are too god damn loyal to WoW for it able to have any success....

Pink is the worst color of slip to get, I know the pain all too well. Best of luck to the lads who are now adrift in the sea.

This whole cycle of layoffs seems stupid beyond all reason. When I was laid off, they gave me a severance and everything. And then they hired me back. It actually cost them more to lay me off then rehire me than it would have to keep me on through the summer in a reduced capacity.

Layoffs suck all around.

I regretfully have first-hand experience on these types of job cuts, and I can tell you it's all for the sake of the company's end-of-year spreadsheets. I worked at a TV station this time last year when the suits from the parent company that owned the station came calling. They took a look around, met with the department managers, and then next week I was being laid off along with half my department (and we were already just above a skeleton crew).
So why did they fire us around that time? Profits vs. costs, and how it looks on paper. If you tell your boss you made cuts in costs it makes you look like a smart businessman (as long as you don't go into detail how you cut costs). I got laid off so the owners of the parent company could say they cut costs and get their end-of-year bonus checks. It happened to me, and it happened to all these poor folks with EA.

And laying people off at this time of year is a supreme dick-move. With Thanksgiving coming up, closely followed by X-Mas and other winter holidays, you have little chance of finding a job before the New Year.

Therumancer:
I wonder what ever happened to the old idea of companies watching our for their employees and even helping them out through the bad times. EA has made such ridiculous amounts of money in the past I'd have hoped they'd suck up a lot of problems before laying off that many people.

I feel sorry for those losing their jobs.

There is no employee loyalty at a publicly traded company when profits are down. Jut wait till Google screws up and see how many people they cut.

Another reason to hate EA. Mythic is in a failure cascade.

AceDiamond:

Slycne:

Acidwell:
Did they never think that they could save on costs by halving the amount of sports games they made and then keep all those guys employed

You realize that statement makes entirely no sense. You might not like them, but those games are still profitable enough to warrant them continuing to make them. So halving the amount of your profitable product would only force them to further fire more people.

Also isn't EA Tiburon's reason for existance most of the EA Sports Games?

blackshark121:

Acidwell:
Did they never think that they could save on costs by halving the amount of sports games they made and then keep all those guys employed

Less income =/= jobs.

Both of you have a point. but considering how much games companies go on about the costs of game making they would seem to save money. I know they make a profit from the games but do they make double what it costs to make every year? cos if not then it would save jobs

Damn I like redwood because they made Dead space and I can't believe they cut Tiburon. Madden,Live,Fifa and NHL just came out for the 360,ps3 and wii and it selling well not to mention Tiger woods eariler

Wow and here i thought these publisher are making a killing now a days. If they are gonna lay ppl off they really need to do it in line with the ppl they hire. I mean you got yourself a PR problem when your company is making crazy profits and then you get rid of 1500 ppl <.<

Good lord, this is terrible! I feel horrible for all those people (at 1500, that's rather horrible) especially when EA is spending the money they'll save on buying out an already thriving studio. What a slap in the face.

That's a lot of people. But, the fact that they worked for EA will look great on a resume. At the same time, I don't really see companies being in a hurry to hire many new employees right now.

EA, why would you announce Skate 3 only to throw this giant looming cloud over everything I love? To think I was only worried that it wouldn't meet the May deadline....(facepalm)

Zoiks. Even the Madden team got slashed? These are dire times indeed...and I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Madden 11 will be even worse than usual. What was the NFL thinking?! If we still had 2K Sports/Visual Concepts around, football games would be far better.

This is what you get for placing the middle finger in the faces of MMO players, EA. And Mythic gets it for getting a producer like this.

Wait, mythic still has people working there? I thought that after the layoffs after WAR sold disappointingly, the layoffs a the end of the fiscal year, bioware stealing most of their employees and a bunch of people leaving after the CEO was fired, they were pretty low on manpower anyway.

Wait they laid off nearly 2,000 people so they can waist $300 million on another company right after they bitched about the economy being the reason some of their games aren't selling well? Wow I was really liking the 'new' EA but I see they're still being stupid with their money.

tk1989:

Jandau:
I'm guessing they are cutting from departments and studios that are either overstaffed or underperforming (I'm looking at you, Mythic).

I wouldn't say Mythic were 'under-performing'. Warhammer Online from what I can tell was a good game, its just people are too god damn loyal to WoW for it able to have any success....

No, it wasn't. It was poorly balanced, with plenty of questionable design decisions and a myriad of techical dificulties. It also didn't help that they let a group of untrained monkeys run the European servers (GOA). I LOVE Warhammer, and I didn't manage to stay for the free month, much less subscribe to the game. They were supposed to bring the DAoC-style RvR into thw Warhammer setting, but they oversimplified it to the point that not even their fans liked it anymore. Basically, they dropped the ball and haven't managed to pick it up in the past year or so.

So now they are running an MMO that likely isn't bringing in the cash to justify the number of people they are employing. If they were truly raking in the cash, EA would not be firing people there. That would be retarded and EA isn't retarded (heck, they aren't even evil anymore, Activision took that title).

As for Madden team layoffs, I guess they finally realized that you don't need all that many people to update the rosters once a year and publish the same game over and over again... :p

Ahh, the poor guys who lost their jobs. Good luck finding new ones, eh?

EA... Blah. If there weren't a number of really nice games being published by these guys I would stop buying from them. They're just retarded. I am really getting tired of the publisher nonsense. I understand that smaller gaming studios can't market their game alone all the time, but when nearly ever game has to go through a publisher like that it is just bad for us in the long run, I think. Maybe not, but that's what I think. Publishers like EA seem to make decisions that aren't good for gamers, gaming, or even the developers. Just their company. Bleh.

Considering the job climate at the moment, that isn't good news anyway you look it.

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