Layoffs hit EA studios in LA and Montreal
EA has confirmed that an unspecified number of layoffs took place in Los Angeles and Montreal today, citing the transition to new hardware—namely the PlayStation 4—as the catalyst. The scope of the layoffs remains unclear, but sources such as Ubisoft designer Stephanie Harvey are claiming that Army of Two developer Visceral Montreal has closed entirely. [Update: Harvey has since expressed uncertainty about that statement.]
EA Senior Director of Corporate Communications John Reseburg tells PC Gamer that EA is "not disclosing headcount impact on individual teams or studios," but added that "EA Montreal is a key development studio where our long-term plan is to sharpen our teams' focus on console and mobile games."
On the layoffs in general, EA President Frank Gibeau wrote in a blog post that these changes were expected as the company transitions to next-gen consoles and mobile games.
"Thousands of our existing employees have been retrained and redeployed to work on the new platforms and initiatives," wrote Gibeau. "But when it is not possible to redeploy a team, we soften the tough decisions with assistance. This week we let some people go in Los Angeles, Montreal as well as in some smaller locations. These are good people and we have offered outplacement services and severance packages to ease their transition to a new job."
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is currently a console exclusive, but whether or not EA's total layoffs will affect the PC gaming scene is yet to be determined. LA is the home of Victory Games, which is developing Command & Conquer, as well as Medal of Honor developer Danger Close.
After Medal of Honor: Warfighter's poor reception, the series is currently "out of the rotation" according to a statement made last month by EA COO Peter Moore. Meanwhile, Gibeau pointed out the "huge ovation" Battlefield 4 received when it was shown to 500 GameStop store managers earlier this week.
On a broader note, we may see more corporations adjust as they shift focus to next-gen consoles, and we'll be watching closely as the console market's gravity pulls on the tides of PC gaming.