Electronic Arts will lay off approximately 350 people today. The news comes from CEO Andrew Wilson, who shared a brief statement on the official EA news website. Representatives from EA tell Polygon staff reductions will come from the marketing, publishing, and operations teams. Additional employees in Japan and Russia will also be impacted. The layoffs represent a nearly 4 percent decrease in headcount for the 9,000-person company.
“Today we took some important steps as a company to address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead,” Wilson wrote in his post. “As we look across a changing world around us, it’s clear that we must change with it. We’re making deliberate moves to better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs of our players.”
The news comes during a particularly fraught time in the game industry. Late last year TellTale Games laid off most of its staff in a single day, a sudden collapse that led to anger on social media. Then, in February, Activision Blizzard laid off 8 percent of its workforce despite record earnings. Fear and insecurity among developers has put renewed focus on efforts to unionize the industry. One organization, Game Workers Unite, even has the vocal support of the AFL-CIO.
So far, no union group within any game industry organization in the United States has stepped forward to demand recognition, but many believe this is the year it may finally happen.
“This is a difficult day,” Wilson continued. “These are important but very hard decisions, and we do not take them lightly. We are friends and colleagues at EA, we appreciate and value everyone’s contributions, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we are looking after our people to help them through this period to find their next opportunity. This is our top priority.”
Reached for additional comment, EA had nothing to add beyond Wilson’s public statement.