Rumors and signs are running rampant that the yearly tradition of mass layoffs at EA are about to hit again.
- Earnings call scheduled for 11/2 — traditionally this is when bloodlettings are announced to make shareholders happy.
- The EALouse blog from a Mythic employee who was already notified his/her head was on the axe gave the figure of 25%… very few actually believe this, as it would be a level of bloodletting that would literally start to prevent EA from being able to make games. Still, it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility (shattering as it would be to EA and the industry as a whole) given EA’s 1,200+ layoffs last year. 25% of EA at current levels would be around 2,000 people… again, very unlikely, but in the current environment anything’s possible, no matter how self-destructive.
- Any cuts most likely won’t be across the board, but centered on studios that EA sees as unprofitable. Any layoffs at Bioware Austin, for example, would be a truly dire portent given the level of investment and expectation EA has place in Old Republic‘s future. Most likely we’ll see some studios gutted and possibly shut down entirely, while others emerge relatively unscathed. Office politics would, of course, have nothing to do with this whatsoever.
The most conclusive sign of incoming layoffs, of course, are that they are already starting to happen. EA is such a large company (well, at least this week) that the ship takes a while to begin to turn. And, of course, the ritual of the betrayed has already begun. Cue Jeff Brown, EA mouthpiece:
As you know, seasonal roll-offs that follow game launches are common and vital to maintaining a healthy business. Because so many of our games ship in the holiday quarter, the team size adjustments tend to follow in the same timeframe. However, EA is growing and several of our studios are looking to hire talented people.
‘So, you know, we need to hire good people, which is why we fired the bad people. Come work for us! We have cookies.’