It’s being reported that two of EA’s studios, Mythic Entertainment (Warhammer Online) and EA Tiburon, are to see considerable job losses, as a result of EA’s proposed and on-going cost-cutting measures.
At Mythic, the playtest group, half of the Quality Assurance team and 21 customer support employees have reportedly been let go. While Mark Jacobs of Mythic didn’t deny the staff cuts at his studio, or their severity, his response on the Warhammer forums tried to reel in the rumours:
“It isn’t any more complicated than that other than to say that we have a very large studio and pretty much every person there has been and will continue to work on WAR for quite a while (meaning we haven’t started work on another game yet). Oh, and the whole ‘OMG, we’re losing 1/2 the developer (or even of the total team) thing’ is total nonsense.”
Additionally, EA Tiburon (acting mainly as EA’s sports house), has reportedly seen more staff cuts as sources at the studio reveal a number of employees have been let go.
These staff cuts follow the plan set in place by EA to cut costs, in the wake of poorer than expected sales performances by EA’s portfolio of games last year, as well as the generally depressed state of the worldwide economy. To date, this has meant the closure of EA Casual, an announcement to lay off roughly 600 employees and cutting ties with one of their studios, Pandemic Australia. EA CEO, John Riccitiello, despite the re-structuring process and tough economic times ahead, is still on message regarding the quality VS profit question, saying:
“Some of my greatest beliefs regarding gaming are that our art form is today ‒ or certainly has the potential ‒ to be recognised as the peer of the best of Hollywood movies. I want to help others see that. I also believe that there is no inherent conflict between great creativity and achieving strong profitability ‒ I believe they go hand in hand.
“This is a business and much of our success will be measured with a calculator ‒ sales, revenue, profit and improving shareholder value. There is also a qualitative aspect of our industry. Making games we can be proud of. Pushing boundaries. I believe the quantitative and the qualitative measures go well together.”
No further concrete information regarding EA’s internal studios is expected until EA’s earnings call in February.