The video game publisher Electronic Arts is laying off 350 people in marketing, publishing, and other areas, the latest move in what’s been a brutal year for the gaming industry.
In an e-mail to employees obtained by Kotaku, EA boss Andrew Wilson said the goal would be to streamline decision-making in the marketing and publishing departments following a consolidation that began last year, improve customer support, and change some of its international strategies, a move that includes closing offices in Russia and Japan.
“We have a vision to be the World’s Greatest Games Company,” he wrote. “If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re not there right now. We have work to do with our games, our player relationships, and our business.”
“Across the company, teams are already taking action to ensure we are creating higher-quality games and live services, reaching more platforms with our content and subscriptions, improving our Frostbite tools, focusing our network and cloud gaming priorities, and closing the gap between us and our player communities,” he added.
When reached by Kotaku this morning, EA sent over the following statement:
Today we took some important steps as a company to address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead. As we look across a changing world around us, it’s clear that we must change with it. We’re making deliberate moves to better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs of our players. As part of this, we have made changes to our marketing and publishing organization, our operations teams, and we are ramping down our current presence in Japan and Russia as we focus on different ways to serve our players in those markets. In addition to organizational changes, we are deeply focused on increasing quality in our games and services. Great games will continue to be at the core of everything we do, and we are thinking differently about how to amaze and inspire our players.
“This is a difficult day. The changes we’re making today will impact about 350 roles in our 9,000-person company. These are important but very hard decisions, and we do not take them lightly. We are friends and colleagues at EA, we appreciate and value everyone’s contributions, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we are looking after our people to help them through this period to find their next opportunity. This is our top priority.”
Later, an EA representative added that the company would be providing severance to laid-off employees. “Yes, we are working with employees to try and find other roles inside the company,” the spokesperson said. “For those that are leaving the company, we will also be providing severance and other resources. I’m not able to provide the details on the severance, but we work hard to be as helpful as we possibly can.”
One person who works in one of the affected departments told Kotaku this morning that these layoffs had been expected for a while now, and that EA had put hiring and travel freezes on marketing for several months. People within marketing and publishing had been expecting a reorganization since at least October, the person said. “I think some people will be relieved to not be in limbo anymore,” they said.
This news comes amidst a year full of massive layoffs at game companies, including Activision Blizzard and ArenaNet. Although the video game industry continues to grow, with the Entertainment Software Association touting ever-increasing revenue, it’s been a challenging 2019 for game developers and publishers.
Correction: An earlier version of this article attributed an e-mail to EA marketing boss Chris Bruzzo—it was actually from EA CEO Andrew Wilson. We’ve also tweaked the headline to make it clear that these layoffs impacted more than the marketing and publishing departments.
Additional reporting by Gita Jackson.