Gaming giant Electronic Arts announces massive layoffs
CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, April 26, 2013 4:00PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, April 26, 2013 8:29PM PDT
B.C.-based gaming giant Electronic Arts says it’s game over for an undisclosed number of employees.
EA has announced restructuring worldwide, laying off an estimated 10 per cent of its staff – a move that equates to hundreds of jobs lost in Metro Vancouver.
A statement on EA’s website states a paradigm shift to new technologies and mobile gaming has “led to some difficult decisions to reduce the workforce.”
“We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by each of our employees – those that are leaving EA will be missed by their colleagues and friends,” the console game company said.
“These are hard but essential changes as we focus on delivering great games and showing players around the world why to spend their time with us.”
It is believed EA is closing PopCap Vancouver, the maker of Hidden Object games, and Quicklime Studio.
EA’s Burnaby compound, which employs more than 1,300 people, has often been described as the mothership of gaming in Canada.
It was also widely held to be fictionalized in the Douglas Coupland novel JPod, which follows the strange and unconventional lives of young video game programmers at a B.C. gaming firm.
Earlier this month, EA laid off around 170 people from its Montreal development unit.
Dennis Chenard of the Centre for Digital Media at the University of British Columbia told CTV News the recent layoffs at EA represent a larger shift in the way people access games.
With more people accessing games on their mobile devices, there are less people playing at home on console devices, which is bad news for studios still focusing on that technology.
Whereas small studios can pivot quickly and change their platform – and how those games get to market – Chenard says companies like EA have a harder time adjusting to the change.
“They’re in a transitional time where they’re trying to address the mobile and casual,” Chenard told CTV News. “The barriers to releasing content have changed. It’s not just about console anymore.”
Vancouver’s Hothead Gaming, founded in 2006, made the switch from console gaming to releasing its content in a digital format to keep up with consumer demand, said Vlad Ceraldi, director of game development.
“We bet on downloadable video games. We realized that digital space is going to be on mobile, 100 per cent,” Ceraldi said.
Hothead continues to experience large growth in the digital space and has hired over 20 people in recent months.