Word hit today through the grapevine that "massive" layoffs had hit at Electronic Arts. Initially we heard as much as 20 percent of the staff has been let go, but a quick check with Electronic Arts confirms that it was actually 6 percent, or about 600 positions. "EA is continuing to make progress against our business plan, but we have the constant imperative to keep our costs in line as we grow our revenues and improve our margins," Electronic Arts spokesperson Mariam Sughayer told me. "Decisions that impact people's jobs are always extremely tough but all of the people affected will be treated fairly and respectfully." "We have begun a cost reduction initiative which will include eliminating approximately six percent of our existing workforce - or approximately 600 positions. We will also reduce hiring and close some open positions that we had previously planned to fill this fiscal year.""All parts of EA have reviewed their team sizes to adjust employee numbers. The goal is to ensure we're resourced in a way that allows us to continue to grow our revenues while at the same time keeping our costs under control and improving profitability. These changes will be announced to affected staff starting October 30." "These are challenging economic times around the world, and it's impossible for any business leaders to predict the future. However, EA has made good progress in improving product quality, building a holiday lineup of titles that is extremely strong, filling our new IP pipeline, and expanding our Direct-To-Consumer and online businesses. As well, our talent remains the best in the industry." These latest layoffs come during a streak of downsizing that appeasr to be hitting gaming companies across the board. It also hits at a time when EA seems to be making a turn around in their development practices, shifting perhaps more to external studios and new strategies.