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Layoffs at EA Today (kotaku.com)
51 points by ilamont 1427 days ago | hide | past | web | 52 comments | favorite

Could be a "realignment of priorities", could be lagging sales, who knows? What I do know is that I've actively started avoiding EA games. I'm not a hard-core gamer, so I don't get terribly passionate about the actual and alleged sins of EA. But I think Battlefield 3 is going to be the last EA game I buy. Without going into a long spiel, it just feels like they're not satisfied with my $60 and make it too obvious in their grab for more. They're not the only ones, but they're the first ones I noticed and they continue to be the most blatant.

Add to that the problems that so many of the games have upon release. I know Battlefield 3 had problems, and then there's the well-publicized Sims. Everyone I know that plays Madden complains every year when a new one comes out (yes, I do question why they continue to buy it). Perhaps I'm not the only one considering how badly I want to play a game when I stand a good chance of being frustrated with it at the start. Maybe I'll go outside instead. :-)

My brother offered me FIFA 13 last Christmas so we could play together online, so I had to install Origin etc.

The number of clicks I have to launch & play a game is ridiculous. I've played video games for more than 20 years and yet the menu baffles me every time. Online games are confusing as well.

Micro-transactions are encouraged.

FIFA is on PC since almost 20 years and yet, the game does even NOT support correctly many game controllers with "odd" buttons placement, and you CAN'T re-assign them without some freeware found on the internet !

My Origin account got hacked.

And Origin is already bugging me with popups to pre-order FIFA 14.

Guess how I feel about buying EA games right now ...

I've pretty much switched to board games. They don't have activation servers, they don't need net connections and I get to see my friends IRL. I only have an underpowered GNU/Linux netbook at the moment so computer gaming's not really an option, anyway.

Not that there's anything wrong with board games - I agree with all the points you mentioned - but have you ever tried some of the text-based games on your netbook? There are a lot of them out there, most of them are free, and some are pretty awesome.

There are even some awesome 2d games like 'Battle for Wesnoth' (open source) that will happily run on most netbooks.

Mudlet runs pretty well, but it's nice to not have all my time disappear down that particular rabbit hole.

I don't go out of my way to avoid EA games, but I never buy games unless they're on Steam or in a Humble Indie Bundle, so I probably haven't bought any recently (since EA launched Origin).

I've been actively avoiding EA games since they ruined Ultima Online. A few have slipped through due to sheer curiosity, but I quickly bored of them (mass effect, dragon age).

I'm three years clean of EA-crap. There's so many wonderful games out there made by simply far better companies.

Sim City was going to be my shameful end to my boycott, but unfortunately EA/Maxis made the decision to avoid my most beloved franchise all too easy.

Condolences to everyone who lost their jobs today, I hope passionate and talented staff will find new homes in better studios, and I can't wait to see what y'all can accomplish without the EA shackles on!

Here, here on having sympathy for those out of work today. I look forward to many of you becoming fed up with the corporate policies you have had to survive under, and look to strike out on your own.

I'll be on Kickstarter and Steam, waiting to see (and fund) what new directions you take us all in.

>>Here, here on having sympathy for those out of work today.

Minor nitpick: the correct phrase is actually "hear, hear." :)

TFA: those that are leaving EA will be missed by their colleagues and friends

Colleagues, sure, but friends? Really? Are they going to kill ~900 ex-employees?

You think game developers have time for friends who aren't colleagues?

Given that the average game developer is 31, with 3 years industry experience, and works 60+ hours a week on average ......

I don't think game developers /know/ anyone who aren't colleagues. Much less have friends that aren't colleagues.

I don't know if you have any stats or facts to back up this claim. I'm a game developer and have worked 40 hour weeks for years and have a broad range of out of office friends and activities. I know many others the same.

Here you go:

"More than the Numbers: Independent Analysis of the IGDA 2009 Quality of Life Survey"


I guess I can't argue with that even though it's 5 years old. In my experience the US is a little worse for crunching than Canada where I work. In addition mobile, social and casual game tends to have less crunch than traditional boxed retail games. I work in mobile gaming where different ages and genders are well represented.

That actually made me laugh out loud, but I assume they meant their colleagues who are also their friends. Something like the logician's definition of 'and', I suppose.

In which case, I suppose they won't be missing their colleagues who aren't also their friends. Sounds about right.

More like the intersection: {colleagues ∩ friends}

It is comments like this that wish I could up vote several times

Corpse disposal costs would be too high, really.

Taxpayer will pay for it, as always.

So not EA.

Wild theory:

They're firing all the people that need to be fired before the new CEO comes in. Otherwise, if the new guy has to fire a bunch of people as soon as he's in it will taint his initial relation and standing with the company. Plus, no one wants to do the dirty work of the last CEO. How would you feel going into a CEO position knowing you're the one who's going to be responsible for breaking up teams and sending 900 employees home without jobs?

If your theory is true, it's likely that the new CEO requested that the layoffs happen on the current CEO's watch as a condition to accepting the position.

So the new CEO caused the layoffs.

"EA's most high-profile projects on the horizon are this fall's DICE-developed Battlefield 4 and the BioWare-developed Dragon Age III."

EA continues to go to the well of existing properties all the while dangling a slightly new feature in one hand while choking us with DLC/IAP in the other. Their CDN is a joke compared to Steam and they earned their rating in pop culture with their routine disdain for their customer base.

Gaming is still in its infancy as an art form. The faster the EA/Activision oligopoly is broken up, the more power we as consumers will have in the future.

I still think Battlefield is probably the best of its genre, and am looking forward to BF4.

Yup, same for Mass Effect / Dragon Age. Those are all killer games and I will keep playing them even if Satan himself is the publisher.

> EA continues to go to the well of existing properties

That's because consumers continue to prefer the waters drawn from that well. If people want new IP, they need to show that with their money.

You mean like making Minecraft insanely popular? Or Kerbal Space Program the game of the year in many magazines? Or DayZ being the game of the year in most other magazines? Theres only so much we can blame the consumer for companies producing shit.

You can't make AAA games with the money those games are making.

Really? How many people have bought Minecraft? More than 10 million (on PC alone) [1]. Assume everyone paid the beta price of €14.95 [2] and we get €150 million! That sounds like triple-A money to me.

Okay, that could be wildly inaccurate if everyone buys it cheap through deals like Steam. 75% off and similar.

Wikipedia says the Notch estimated €25M in purchases a few months after the beta [3]. By the end of the beta that was 4 million purchases which has now risen to 10 million. As far as I can tell, that doesn't include any figures from Apple, Google, or Microsoft.

[1] https://minecraft.net/ [2] http://web.archive.org/web/20110114022633/http://www.minecra... [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft#Commercial

Minecraft is a fluke. It cannot be imitated.

I'd rather play a fun non-"AAA" game than a boring "AAA" game.

Obviously. Everyone would.

But I do not want AAA games to not exist. They can do things that indie games cannot. It’s as simple as that.

Oh, that is true. Ideally a fun "AAA" would be the best option...

If EA tries to avoid creating new IPs then there is little opportunity to show them with our money. Plus they seem keen on ignoring the successes of other companies that do create new IPs.

Game publishers stab in the dark as to what people want from a game.

That's why it's a blockbuster mentality (not an artform mentality).

Is this due to some projects nearing completion (like what we saw with Activision when they finished Diablo III) or are there deeper problems afoot?

Well their CEO resigned last month. I don't follow the business side of their company, but Bayes' Theorem is leaning towards "deeper problems" right now.

A bit off topic perhaps, but where I work at "big corp" there are so many people who have worked at the company for 15-20-30 years, it's really incredible. They've built their whole lives around big corp, they've bought a house nearby, live somewhere where there aren't many alternative jobs. They've worked on the same thing for at least a decade, and they only ever "changed jobs" within the company itself.

I have a very bad feeling that these people will be tasting the result of the faster global world very soon. People in my generation will never be relaxed and content with their job (for better or worse), because we know it might not exist in a year or two.

I see all those people here in Silicon Valley too. I know a guy who worked for IBM optical storage systems (ones with robotic hand/mounter). He was a director in his team. All of sudden their team got shot down and he got laid off. Now he works as a developer in Cisco. All he knows is C and Assembly. He don't even know what Git is. It's amazing how people in past had one job and relied on it so much...

And yet they refuse to do an updated M.U.L.E. game. Go figure.

As I understand it, that's because the franchise is already being developed elsewhere: http://mulereturns.com/

A good version exists here: http://www.planetmule.com/

Uhoh, looks like that Malaysian restaurant down the road is going to get even fewer customers... shame (I love those Singapore prawns!)

Singapore prawns in a Malaysian restaurant? What madness is this?

You mean the one next to ToGo's?

That's the one.

So, close to a thousand people laid off?

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