Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. EA is splitting up with itself in a big internal shakeup that will see EA Games and EA Sports cut into two distinct units within the company. EA Games is also getting a rebrand: It's going to be called EA Entertainment from now on, suggesting that the company has plans to expand beyond gaming in some capacity. Who's up for a Syndicate film?
EA CEO Andrew Wilson announced the news in a post (originally shared with EA employees) to the company's website. In it, Wilson said that EA lifer Laura Miele, who's been with the company for near-on three decades, "has been appointed President of EA Entertainment, Technology & Central Development".
In her new role, Miele will oversee "key studios" under the new brand's umbrella, working alongside familiar faces like Respawn's Vince Zampella as he leads "the world-class studios responsible for Apex Legends, [EA's] Star Wars games, and Battlefield," as well as Samantha Ryan, who will continue to keep an eye on BioWare, Maxis, and other "leading lifestyle franchises and blockbuster single-player experiences".
On the other, sportier side of things—the part of the company that's not especially interesting to pallid asocial nerds like me but that continues to rain huge profits on the corporation regardless—EA Sports will continue to be headed up by Cam Weber, who's been with that side of the company since 2011. The shakeup is meant to give both division heads a bit more "creative ownership and financial accountability to make faster and more insightful decisions around development".
Wilson also says a great deal about familiar themes like driving growth, accelerating business, delivering value, and all the usual gerunds people in his position deploy to assure shareholders they've not gone out of their gourd, but the new split between EA's sport and "entertainment" divisions is the real meat.
The new organisational structure will grow into place "over the coming months" as the various leaders whip things into shape. It seems like EA is keen on shakeups at the moment, too: It was only two weeks ago that reports surfaced that the company plans to hand off development of Star Wars: The Old Republic to Broadsword Online Games, in order to give BioWare room to focus on Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
Who knows? Maybe it's exactly what EA needs. The corporation is huge, and hardly in dire straits, but it does feel like it's been in a bit of a funk in the past few years. Battlefield 2042 didn't go down well with fans (even if it is good now), Wild Hearts was underwhelming, and Jedi Survivor was good only insofar as you could wade through the bugs.
Excluding the ongoing success of its annualised sports franchises (and this year sees it take the risk of re-branding FIFA), only the Dead Space remake stands out as an unqualified success in the studio's recent library. Perhaps a major internal shakeup will give EA the pep in its step that it needs to pump out some hits.