Electronic Arts Cuts 5 Percent Of Staff Amidst Jobs Bloodbath

electronic arts dead space

Electronic Arts latest videogame company to engage in mass layoffs as industry continues to reel from pandemic overhiring

Electronic Arts is the latest in the videogame industry to announce layoffs, cutting 5 percent of its global workforce or about 670 people and cancelling an upcoming Star Wars title.

EA chief executive Andrew Wilson said the move was in response to an “accelerating industry transformation” leading the firm to focus on titles it owns outright, rather than licensed intellectual property, amongst other changes.

“I understand this will create uncertainty and be challenging for many,” he wrote in a message to staff.

He said the company’s biggest opportunities include owned IP, sports and massive online communities.

electronic arts
Image credit: Electronic Arts

‘Hard to walk away’

As a result Wilson said EA would be sunsetting some games and more broadly “moving away from development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry”.

He said the “streamlining” process, which also includes reorganising the company’s global real estate holdings, would “deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans”.

In a subsequent email to staff EA entertainment chief Laura Miele said an upcoming Star Wars first-person shooter from subsidiary Respawn Entertainment, announced last year, would be cancelled.

“It’s always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team’s talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game,” she wrote.

Codemasters cuts

Miele said Respawn’s most successful titles include its two Jedi games, a third of which is on the way, and its fully owned brands.

Respawn also has several Marvel games in development, including Black Panther and Iron Man.

In December 2023 EA said it would lay off staff at UK developer Codemasters – which it bought in 2020 – and would cancel two mobile Codemasters games, F1 Mobile Racing and MLB Tap Sports.

EA’s layoffs are understood to primarily affect support teams, with developers largely being transferred from cancelled projects to other teams.

Wilson said communication to staff about the layoffs had already begun and would be “largely” completed by early next quarter.

Widespread layoffs

The videogame industry has seen widespread layoffs in the past two years, in part due to massive overhiring during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Companies in the sector laid off more than 10,000 staff last year and so far this year the figure is already approaching 8,000, according to videogamelayoffs.com.

Those cutting jobs in 2024 include Riot Games, Microsoft – which recently completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard – and Amazon’s Twitch, which cut 35 percent of its staff in January.