Electronic Arts has confirmed that its EA Chicago studio is being closed down, citing company projections that show "no expectation" of hitting profitability targets until at least the 2011 fiscal year.
EA is reportedly attempting to relocate at least some of the roughly 150 people employed at the Chicago location, but the future of games in development there remains unknown. A internal memo from EA Games President Frank Gibeau that was leaked to Kotaku revealed the closure was originally meant to be announced along with EA's quarterly earnings announcement last week, when closures and layoffs were first mentioned, but the death of a studio member led the announcement to be postponed "out of respect for his family and friends."
Referencing the company's willingness to take risks and invest in long-term development, the memo said, "Each team is responsible for staying on a reasonable path to profitability. Sticking to that strategy is what gives us the financial resources and flexibility to take risks on new projects. Unfortunately, EA Chicago hasn't been able to meet that standard. The location has grown dramatically in the past three years while revenue from the games developed there has not. The number of employees has grown from 49 in 2004 to 146 people currently in the new facility in downtown Chicago. As it stands, EA Chicago has no expectation of hitting our profitability targets until FY2011 or later."
"Closing EA Chicago is the toughest decision I've made in my career - one that in no way reflects on the talent and dedication of the people who work there. I've enjoyed their games and consider GM Kudo Tsunoda to be one of the best creative minds in our industry. The people impacted by this decision will be treated fairly - we're offering relocation opportunities to many and there will be outplacement assistance and severance for all eligible employees."
The full text of the memo can be read here.