The news of the layoffs follows closely behind yesterday’s announcement of the looming closure of three major Facebook games.
Electronic Arts announced yesterday that The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society will all be taken offline on June 14. Today, the other shoe dropped, as the publisher confirmed deep staffing cuts at mobile studio EA Hyderabad and social studio EA Playfish.
Roughly 50 employees at EA Hyderabad have been let go “due to (a) few major titles sunset,” according to a message posted on the Nasscom Gaming Forum on Facebook. An Electronic Arts rep did not confirm the number but did tell MCV India that the company is “sharpening its focus” and that “in some cases, this involves reducing team sizes as we evolve into a more efficient organization.”
“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,” the rep explained. “Streamlining our operations will help ensure EA is bringing the best next-generation games to players around the world.”
Layoffs have also hit Playfish, the social game studio EA acquired in 2009 for $300 million. The number of employees let go from that studio isn’t known and in fact Develop says the cuts may have been made as far back as a month ago, prior to the announcement of the Playfish games closures. MCV India reports that the studio has been closed down entirely, although that remains unconfirmed; however, EA did tell Joystiq that it “won’t be commenting on the status of Playfish,” an ominous-sounding non-denial if ever there was one.
Aside from their proximity to the Facebook game closures, the Playfish and Hyderabad cuts also come less than a week after EA laid off staff at its mobile studio in Montreal – and issued the same statement, word for word, to explain it. Electronic Arts bet heavily on the social game business over the past few years but now appears to have given up on that strategy.