2013 hasn’t been very kind to game developers and job stability has been very shaky ever since the year kicked off – just another day in the videogame industry? I guess…
The latest round of unfortunate news concerns redundancies at a handful of EA’s studios, EA Montreal, Visceral Games Montreal and developers in Los Angeles, as EA moves to ready itself for transitions and growth in new segments of game development, including mobile games and next generation consoles.
In a publicly written note, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau noted:
“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.”
This news immediately sparked speculation surrounding the future of these studios, and internet chatter pointed to the outright closure of both EA Montreal and Visceral Games Montreal (which worked on Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel), but in a further statement to quell fears, EA said:
“EA Montreal is a key development studio where our long-term plan is to sharpen our teams’ focus on console and mobile games.”
Frank Gibeau’s original statement was bullish and while these layoffs are a concern, EA’s future in the industry is assured. Referring to the recent announcement of the PlayStation 4, Gibeau wrote:
“Console transitions are a complex and challenging experience. I’ve helped navigate several and agree with an old saying we have at EA: Transition is our friend. All the trend lines are converging to reward the creative and financial investments we have made in mobile and console technology. We have never been more ready or more excited about what comes next.”
EA has made remarkable shifts into casual and social online gaming and has swiftly moved into mobile game development, maintaining a leadership position in these markets amongst traditional publishers, while current and next-generation consoles remain incredibly important. But where does EA’s focus lie?