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Electronic Arts Slashes Workforce 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the survival-of-the-fittest dept.
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Electronic Arts has been slashing jobs in recent weeks and according to Kotaku the size of the layoffs has reached as much as 10 percent of its workforce. The game maker says it's making the move to align its workforce closer to mobile and new technologies. For the console dinosaur that's trying to fight extinction by evolving into a bigger mobile player, this process has been a painful transition with a number of employees ending up in the tar pit - as well as its CEO."
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Electronic Arts Slashes Workforce

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  • EA is burning (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @07:24PM (#43551059)
    Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Thursday April 25, 2013 @07:25PM (#43551071) Homepage Journal

      Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      You may not want to eat anything cooked over flaming toxic waste.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Capitalism at work.

    • Re:EA is burning (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Thursday April 25, 2013 @09:47PM (#43551939) Journal

      I want everybody to take a good look at this because this just proves what some of us have been saying all along, which is voting with your dollars works it just isn't magic and when you are talking about a large corp with a huge bank account it takes time to work.

      I mean look at how well it has worked with consumer friendly gaming companies VS consumer unfriendly gaming companies, Valve treats customers well, has doubled their profits for 7 years in a row, EA treats customers like shit? Laying off workers after the CEO bailed rather than be fired, Ubisoft who used to practically give bonuses to those in the company who could come up with a nastier way to treat customers? Removed their DRM from their current titles and from what i understand is putting out patches that remove it from previous titles, and of course Activision which is "restructuring" which is a nice way of saying "trying to stop the bleeding".

      So voting with your dollars DOES WORK, it is just like any real solution isn't a magic wand one can wave to make things change instantly. As I pointed out to those that poo pooed the idea "At least i'm not paying for the right to be treated like shit" and by refusing to give those that treat me as dirt money I know I'm doing my little part in making sure they don't get rewarded for being assholes while at the same time having plenty of truly great games to play. its not like there aren't plenty of companies out there that won't be happy to treat you as a valued customer, when the stink about Diablo 3 being always online so they could nickel and dime you with money markets hit I spread the word about how Runic games was even allowing modding in Torchlight II and had a lot of folks tell me how much they loved the game. BTW if anybody doesn't have it yet? Great game and to celebrate adding Steam workshop support they gave us the Half Life headcrab as one of the pet choices. of course i had to name mine Lamar, just wouldn't be right otherwise LOL.

      If a company insists on treating you like shit? Don't buy from that company and be quick to point out alternatives to anybody who is thinking of buying it. As we can plainly see here it does work, it simply takes time to hurt a huge corp like EA.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Steam is still DRM. The fact that some people who claim to oppose DRM support Steam is rather hypocritical.

        • Re:EA is burning (Score:5, Informative)

          by sdreader (2893571) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @11:28PM (#43552403)

          There are some games sold on Steam with zero DRM and can run completely independently of the client, but the number of DRM-free games vastly pale in comparison to the total number in Steam's catalogue. Plus you won't know it's DRM free unless you buy it, or someone's found out and posted the info somewhere, since this fact isn't displayed anywhere on the game's respective Store page.

          I'm only pointing this out before someone else argues that Steam does have DRM-free games. Yeah it does, but it's hard enough to know what they are and since it's not common enough, it's just easier to assume they all do. And for this reason I don't use Steam... but that makes me something of a weird outsider with PC gaming, which I'm happy with.

          • by Cederic (9623)

            Steam's DRM is far less obtrusive than the DRM used on games I bought in 1986. In 1987. In 1988...1991...1995...2001...2008

            Then I started using Steam.

            • by sdreader (2893571)

              You're probably confusing DRM with copy-protection. There's a difference. The difference being that DRM can end up revoking or blocking access to the content you paid for, whereas copy-protection in said years would have basically ammounted to a serial code, or a code wheel, or checking the CD during startup (*). All of which CANNOT BE TAKEN FROM YOU KATE unless through physical means, which ain't gonna happen. But if Valve goes kaput, or Steam's offline mode fails during an extended net outage or whatever,

              • by sdreader (2893571)

                I should also add that I'm writing this while being rather tired, and I have no idea who Kate is. :)

                • by Cederic (9623)

                  Fair point regarding DRM vs Copy Protection. I take solace in my ability to strip the DRM from Steam games if they ever withdraw the service, and/or take them to court for restitution.

                  Of course, the copy protection often led to loss of access - losing the code wheel or the casette inlay, installing software the game manufacturer's rootkit wouldn't work with, etc.

                  I will concede though that I too have no idea who Kate is.

                  • If you would like to meet Kate, I suggest you go into a bathroom, turn off the lights, and say "Bloody Kate" three times in front of the darkened mirror.

                    DRM versus Copy-protection: I have re-bought games on Steam because I lost the 16 digit CD key necessary to reinstall them with the CD and they cost 5 Yankee dollars on Steam. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

                    (Yes, I could have hunted for a hack, but I can do that for the Steam games as well. Again, six of one, half a dozen of the other.)

                    • by Cederic (9623)

                      If you would like to meet Kate, I suggest you go into a bathroom, turn off the lights, and say "Bloody Kate" three times in front of the darkened mirror.

                      Tried that. My cats walked in, looked at me disdainfully and walked out again.

                      I have re-bought games on Steam because I lost the 16 digit CD key necessary to reinstall them with the CD and they cost 5 Yankee dollars on Steam.

                      I've bought games on steam because it's too much hassle digging through the cupboard to find the CDs in the first place. And because in my younger days I maybe couldn't afford all of the games I liked. Just don't ask how I knew I liked them.

                      These days I own a hundred games on Steam that I've never played - on Steam. Some of them are because they came in bundles, some are to reward developers from years past, some are just ones I h

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                What you are doing is no different than the bullshit the GPL guys use to make BSD sound evil, you are throwing out doom scenarios which I can say in the future RMS and Torvalds will eat babies and what do ya know? just as accurate or useful.

                Can you name ONE PERSON, just one, that had their games taken away that WERE NOT being giant fucking douchebags and ruining the game for everyone else? because i sure as hell can't, the only ones I've EVER heard of get banhammered from Steam were the cocksuckers using wa

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  The problem with this idea is that no one has adequately explained why we should expect Steam to last forever, or why we should expect them to even be legally able to make good on their promise to free all Steam games should Steam ever actually go under. I still play some of the very earliest games I paid for. But the body of law suggests that you will eventually be unable to legally play your Steam purchases.

              • by Imrik (148191)

                Copy-protection is a subset of DRM.

          • There are some games sold on Steam with zero DRM and can run completely independently of the client, but the number of DRM-free games vastly pale in comparison to the total number in Steam's catalogue. Plus you won't know it's DRM free unless you buy it, or someone's found out and posted the info somewhere, since this fact isn't displayed anywhere on the game's respective Store page.

            And even if you get a game without DRM from Steam, you don't get it with a nice installer package which you can archive and own forever. Like you do with games from GOG.

            • by lxs (131946)

              You're talking about video games right? Those things that you play for a week or two and then never touch again? I agree that DRM is wrong in principle but I can't get too worked up about video game DRM as long as it doesn't interfere with playing.
              Besides, cracking game protection has been a tried and true entry into assembly and disassembly skills for generations of geeks.

              • Sounds like you're playing the wrong games.
              • You're talking about video games right? Those things that you play for a week or two and then never touch again?

                One question for you: Why did people continue playing Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) even after its sequel Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out over six years later? And why are people modding Brawl to act more like Melee? And why are people still playing Tetris, which is nearing 30 years old?

                Besides, cracking game protection has been a tried and true entry into assembly and disassembly skills

                Nowadays, it's much more likely to get one hauled into court. Just ask George Hotz, who cracked the PS3 just so he could continue to run homebrew on it after Sony took away Other OS.

            • by BitZtream (692029)

              Right click the game in your Steam Library ...

              Backups are hard .. when theres a menu option and freaking wizard to do it for you.

              Before you tell us how much steam sucks ...you should use it once or twice.

        • Re:EA is burning (Score:5, Insightful)

          by darkfeline (1890882) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @11:50PM (#43552495)

          I think those people really just oppose bullshit DRM. Steam DRM is very tame and reasonable, and I think most people don't really have anything against DRM as a concept that help protect game devs a little from possible lost profits; it's the bullshit DRM that get in the way of legitimate players playing the game that's the problem.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Agreed. While the nature of DRM and content ownership might be off-putting to many people, it's really about the obtrusiveness and inconvenience that is the deal breaker for most people. If you can manage to deliver a service that actually is convenient and potentially cost saving to the consumer, the existence of DRM becomes an acceptable trade off. The issue with EA is the business model and mentality, rather than the simple existence of DRM. While Valve has made a business of providing free content u

          • Re:EA is burning (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Kelbear (870538) on Friday April 26, 2013 @09:38AM (#43555347)

            OP is correct.

            Not having Steam's "DRM" is a negative point for me when I look at a game. Thankfully Steam allows me to add non-steam games into the library for my tracking, but I still can't delete, install, and re-patch them through Steam's "DRM". They also don't come with the Steam overlay. To be clear, I /want/ all of my games to have Steam's "DRM".

            If you don't understand why people like "DRM" that is providing clear benefits to them, but hate "DRM" that does nothing but provide clear detriment to them, you're just being intentionally obtuse. If you care about the risk of losing old games 10-15 years from now when Valve could theoretically lose both it's tremendous profits and the mountain of capital it has built up, and suddenly go out of business in a short period of time before releasing a rescue patch, that's fine. I don't pretend that risk doesn't exist, I've fully considered it, and I've decided I don't care about it. Steam has reduced game prices in the market so dramatically so that my purchasing concerns have more to do with time than with price. I can't play all the new games I want to play, I'm really not worried about being able to play the games I've already played.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Not having Steam's "DRM" is a negative point for me when I look at a game. Thankfully Steam allows me to add non-steam games into the library for my tracking, but I still can't delete, install, and re-patch them through Steam's "DRM". They also don't come with the Steam overlay. To be clear, I /want/ all of my games to have Steam's "DRM".

              You're confusing Steam's DRM with Steam the distribution platform. There are games on Steam which have no DRM. Your comment is invalid because you have no idea what you are talking about. HTH, HAND.

              • by Kelbear (870538)

                That's why I put "DRM" in quotes.Did you not notice this? Their DRM comes part and parcel with the platform for better and for worse.

                The point here is that Steam is providing value to it's customers while taking away something they don't care about. If I give you something worth $2 dollars, and take away something worth $1, do you want that deal? How about if I take something worth $1, and give you nothing? Would you want that deal? If you can understand the difference in these two propositions you can unde

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  That's why I put "DRM" in quotes.Did you not notice this? Their DRM comes part and parcel with the platform for better and for worse.

                  No, no it does not. Again, you have no idea what you are talking about. Steam games have DRM. They can use Valve's DRM which they made for Steam, or they can use their own DRM. DRM is completely orthogonal to Steam distribution.

                  Otherwise, like I said, you're being intentionally obtuse.

                  No, you are being ignorant and making incorrect statements.

                  If you don't like Steam's DRM,

                  Then I will continue to explain why I don't like it on slashdot, just as you are free to try to explain why you do like it, and prove that you don't understand it in the process. You don't need to tell me what to do. I am alr

                • by Jaysyn (203771)

                  That's why I put "DRM" in quotes.Did you not notice this? Their DRM comes part and parcel with the platform for better and for worse.

                  No, it doesn't.

                  http://www.gog.com/forum/general/list_of_drmfree_games_on_steam/page1 [gog.com]

                  If the Steam platform (*not CEG*) is DRM then that makes the package manager for any given Linux distro DRM as well.

        • Re:EA is burning (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 26, 2013 @03:11AM (#43553285)

          There's DRM and there's DRM. Now, I won't say "good" vs. "bad" DRM, because inherently, from the consumer point of view, there's no such thing as "good" DRM. At best, there can be "acceptable" DRM. What's "acceptable" is up to the user himself, though.

          Some people don't mind that selling their games is made impossible because they keep every game they buy anyway, so it does not restrict them. Others find it insufferable because their "game economy cycle" depends on them being able to sell old games to buy new ones. Some people don't mind "always on" DRM because they only play multiplayer games anyway where not having a connection to the internet means not playing the game, or because they have a stable connection and leave it up all the time, others may consider that a completely unacceptable restriction because their connection is crappy, because they don't play multiplayer and don't want their game to suddenly shut down on them for no game related reason, or simply because they don't trust the maker of the game to keep the controlling server running or offer a patch when they shut it off. That last part being maybe a problem by itself for some gamers, who enjoy pulling out an old game every now and then, while others won't worry about it since they only play the most recent installment of their favorite games and never look back.

          As you see, what gamers will accept and what they will not highly depends on the individual gamer. One thing is certain: Some kind of DRM will be in the games. Even if they have to return to messing with the CD/DVD/BluRay standard and creating discs that you cannot copy for some obscure reason. The game makers of course want total control over their games, but as we can see now, that doesn't fly because the customer doesn't play along. So they'll backpedal a bit and test the waters again until they see what we'll swallow.

          Steam is popular because they already kinda found that sweet spot between them wanting control and the player wanting it to "just work". Steam pretty much locks you into their service because a lot, maybe nearly all or even all, of your games are in there. Lose control of your Steam account, lose control of your library of games. Banned from one (VAC) game, banned from pretty much all of them. These are of course issues that loom over the heads of Steam users, but that seems to be something they can accept. The games work, installing them is trivial at worst (9 out of 10 games just install and you're good to go), no worries with authentication servers or similar bullshit, and that's something gamers can apparently accept.

          • Some people don't mind "always on" DRM because they only play multiplayer games anyway where not having a connection to the internet means not playing the game

            Multiplayer doesn't necessarily require the Internet. It can use one machine, one big screen, and multiple gamepads. Or it can use multiple machines on a LAN.

            others may consider that a completely unacceptable restriction because their connection is crappy

            Examples of such a crappy connection include a connection that works only at home, not in a vehicle in which one uses a laptop while riding as a passenger.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        My dollars didn't vote for mobile gaming. If my dollars could vote, they would vote for just the OPPOSITE of mobile gaming. That's why I didn't buy Simcity 5. I have spent close to $1,000 on Simcity franchise over the years, but they are reducing it to a point and drool game where you have to be online to play. No thanks. I want a single player game where I can play it somewhere where I may not have internet access. Something like an upgraded Simcity.
        Even Simcity 4 started to suck, what with all the asinin
        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          You are missing the point.

          EA wants to get paid as much as possible, while changing as little as possible. That's why they are trying a desperate gambit to jump to mobile gaming. (They believe that the mobile gaming ecosystem is more friendly to obtrusive DRM, and they are partly right.)

          The GP said that voting with his dollars is working: EA games is feeling heat under the collar. However, because of the above, they purposefully look away from the burning handwriting, and feel that leaving the building is th

          • by lexsird (1208192)

            I'm with you. Anything with their logo on it is a boycott for me. I'm sure people will track them as they try to squirm away. They have evoked the wrath of gamers and they will find we are an unforgiving lot. Track them, never buy a thing any of them produce, no matter where they hide, no matter what they change their names to, whatever. All the way down to flipping burgers, if you find one flipping burgers, throw it in their face and demand your money back.

            Examples must be made and EA should become a cauti

          • They believe that the mobile gaming ecosystem is more friendly to obtrusive DRM, and they are partly right.

            I'm not understanding what part you meant by "partly". How would a game made for a tablet support digital restrictions management that requires a persistent connection to the Internet? A Kindle Fire doesn't have a cellular radio to connect to the Internet from the inside of a vehicle. Nor does a Wi-Fi iPad or Wi-Fi Nexus 7. Even smartphones and those tablets that do have a cellular radio often lose Internet access part-way through the month because the user hit the cap.

            the removal of an obstructionist whore of a company like EA from that market will only create market opportunities for new game publishers.

            Until EA starts suing "new game publis

        • Well, the different between voting with your dollar/feet and voting in elections is that the former is based on the past, not the promise of the future. Thinking about it, it should be the same in elections, why are people more easily tricked into believing something when ... anyway.

          What we see here is a vote AGAINST always-on DRM, not a vote FOR mobile gaming. Whether people vote for mobile gaming is something to be seen. Personally, I'm with you on this one, I play on computers and MAYBE on a console if t

        • I agree. "Voting with your wallet" only works if you agree with the demographic that is "voting" the most. In this case, as with many other cases, it's utter morons who are voting the most.

          Actual voting, of course, works only slightly better, since the idiots can only vote once.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm not convinced that the layoff is due to lack of Sim City sales. While I have no inside knowledge, I'll be willing to bet that EA is financially stable and this is just a move by management to streamline their workforce. Drop the dead weight and rehire fresh new programmers that don't make as much and work longer hours. With the poor sales of a few titles, they have reasonable excuse to dump people that won't jeopardize morale . When I was a consultant, I saw several companies do this (e.g. stock market

        • Re:EA is burning (Score:4, Informative)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 26, 2013 @03:20AM (#43553327)

          In other words, fire the guys you've driven into burnout, haul in new ones to burn through.

          Employees aren't assets anymore. They're just means of production.

          • by Kelbear (870538)

            This is ostensibly the model for the accounting industry. The best opportunities in accounting start in public accounting where they have 60 hour minimums, but it is rare to work the minimum, most work more than 60, ranging past 100 hours a week.

            But these jobs provide guaranteed, rapid advancement relative to private accounting which has uncertain, and potentially slower advancement. Thus the industry has had a stable stream of fodder, allowing these companies to survive for literally centuries.

            • by Minwee (522556)

              But these jobs provide guaranteed, rapid advancement

              So does serving in the Imperial navy under Darth Vader, but having a plentiful supply of rapidly cooling and slightly bloodstained shoes to fill isn't always a good sign.

          • It's the new Iron law of wages. [wikipedia.org] Except now without any pretense of it being better for them, because if you paid them much more than they need to not starve, they'd fuck like rabbits until they had more mouths to feed and were back to near-starvation. Now the reason is "Because the market! Investors!"

            Ideally we'd get to the point of complete honesty, where workers are always plainly "Because fuck you, that's why," and then no one could possibly pretend that it was better for everyone this way.
      • Re:EA is burning (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RogueyWon (735973) * on Friday April 26, 2013 @02:24AM (#43553109) Journal

        You're right, of course.

        But there's another, related lesson in all of this; one that's more for businesses than consumers. The irony is, it's not a new lesson; it's one that has been well known for decades (centuries?), but which seems to have been forgotten recently in a good chunk of the gaming industry.

        That lesson is: "Your brands matter. Protect their value."

        I'm sure that on one level, EA understands this. In fact, I suspect a few parts of the company (mainly those who handle its cash-cow sports titles, which remain well-received and commercially successful) understand it very well. It spends a fortune on advertising. It's known to throw its weight around when major releases get lackluster reviews. But at the same time, it has worked very hard in recent years to take some of the most potent brand names in gaming and drag them through the mud. And then set fire to them. And then take a dump on the remains.

        A few examples: their acquisition of Bioware looked at the time like a bit of reputation control. Their name was in the crapper, so they tried to associate themselves with the halo surrounding one of the most highly regarded developers in the business. However, with Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, that brand very quickly ended up tarnished. Now, views will vary on EA's responsibility for that (personal view; extensive in the case of Dragon Age 2, but Mass Effect 3's failings felt mostly inflicted by people within Bioware). It wasn't just the disappointing games either; the day-1 DLC, starting from the original Dragon Age onwards (and I'd never accuse that game of being disappointing) did a lot to erode consumer good will and cement a reputation for nickel-and-diming customers who had purchased already expensive games. In fact, many of the post-launch DLC packs for EA/Bioware games have been good value, but the reputational damage is done by the day-1 stuff.

        Or take Command & Conquer; one of the absolutely core franchises in the history of PC gaming. Actually, EA's history here is more complicated than it might appear. Westwood had itself done all it possibly could to tarnish this brand, with C&C2 and Red Alert 2, both of which felt years behind the curve at the point of release. EA's first move on acquiring the franchise was a bit odd and bewildering - sticking the name onto Generals - a title that clearly had little to do with Command & Conquer (which isn't to say that it was bad, just that it didn't look or feel like a C&C game). However, EA then seemed to buck its ideas up; C&C3 and Red Alert 3 were both, in their own ways, high quality titles and felt like a return to grace for the series. So what a pity that the usual EA self-destructive tendencies were allowed to take over; C&C4 was clearly rushed to release and was crippled by barely-functional always-online DRM. Since then, all we've seen has been some craptacular gestures towards the pay-to-win market.

        And then there's SimCity. I won't dwell on this at length; the discussion is live across many, many gaming sites at the moment. But again, EA has taken a loved and respected franchise and smeared it in excrement. In fact, in this case, EA's reputation was already bad enough that I didn't make the mistake of buying this title.

        The result of this? At one point, Bioware games - and games with the C&C or SimCity name on them - would have been guaranteed purchases for me (and, I suspect, for a lot of other people). As of now, though, I would sniff carefully around the reviews of a Bioware game, and wouldn't touch a C&C or a SimCity with a barge pole. The brand value has been substantially diminished or outright destroyed. There are other examples too; I loved the old (early 2000s) Medal of Honor games - but the first of EA's recent reboots was grim enough that I didn't touch its sequel and they've now canned the franchise again because a lot of other people clearly felt the same.

        Funny thing is, EA aren't (quite) the worst in the industry at this. Dire though they are, I don't th

      • by Shimbo (100005)

        i had to name mine Lamar, just wouldn't be right otherwise

        Lamarr. FTFY ;)

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        , Ubisoft who used to practically give bonuses to those in the company who could come up with a nastier way to treat customers? Removed their DRM from their current titles and from what i understand is putting out patches that remove it from previous titles

        Did I miss this, or do I hate ubisoft so much that I ignored the news?

    • by lexsird (1208192)

      I can't wait to dance on their fucking grave.

  • EA has basically sucked ass ever since they stopped making non-game software.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      What non-game software did EA used to make? I can't think of anything, and a quick Google doesn't turn anything up.

      • Re:Dinosaur (Score:5, Informative)

        by LocalH (28506) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @08:22PM (#43551451) Homepage

        Several applications, most notably for the Amiga (although some of them also came out on other platforms like MS-DOS and the Apple IIgs). Their most notable series was Deluxe Paint, which was used for many of the 16-bit video games that were released on computers and consoles. They also released Deluxe Video (I have a boxed copy of DV3 still sitting here), Deluxe Music Construction Set. They also created the IFF file format specification, which saturated the Amiga platform (with sub-formats such as ILBM for images, ANIM for animation, 8SVX for sound samples, SMUS for sequenced music) and even lives on long after the Amiga's commercial death (AVI, WAV, and ANI formats on the Windows platform are basically little-endian IFF files with different chunk names, and AIFF on the Mac platform is also basically IFF with different chunk names and can either be big- or little-endian, but are most commonly found today as little-endian).

      • Re:Dinosaur (Score:4, Funny)

        by owlnation (858981) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @08:35PM (#43551521)

        What non-game software did EA used to make? I can't think of anything, and a quick Google doesn't turn anything up.

        DRM? It turns most games into non-games, very quickly.

      • by seebs (15766)

        DeluxePaint, various related programs. The IFF standard, which remains one of the nicer file formats. Deluxe Music Construction Set. Probably a lot of others forgotten in the mists of time.

  • and they're slashing workforce? wtf? Is this a sudden dive in quality or is the better tech being used to reduce the number of developers/artists needed? They guy that did the meshes for Metroid Prime spent a month on optimization for the final boss alone. That's not really needed when you've got 8 gigs of ram I suppose.
    • by TWX (665546)
      Firing too many staff would directly impact the quality of the games produced. But, if your games are already crap to start with then you've already lost the customer base, and unless you can float the labor costs until the next successful game comes out, you're screwed. As you cut staff, what's remaining of the core product gets worse, the customer base shrinks, and you end up losing more money and having to make more cuts.
    • HB1's coming in min work time 80 hours a week and you will get an boss who will go leaving at 10pm?

      • by guttentag (313541)
        This week at EA, a green-haired guy with glasses appears on your computer screen against a red background, waving his arms wildly:

        FIRE!

        Yowwza! A fire has broken out! If it continues to burn, it will spread through the company. Bulldoze the cubicles around the fire to stop it from spreading. Have you put in your 80 hours this week yet or do you have sufficient firing protection?

        Next week at EA, the same green-haired guy appears [photobucket.com], a little more pleasant:

        Hello! I'm Dr. Wright. You must be the new H-1B worker! Let's practice our teambuilding techniques by building a Power Plant and then adding Residential, Commercial, and Industrial zones to your cubicle. Next, connect all the zones with CAT5 and then add power strips so you can work from any zone of your cubicle and get ahead in the race to not get downsized and deported!

    • It's called rank & yank. Great to keep a culture of stress and fear bubbling over, which is how they seem to like it at EA.

    • by Pseudonym (62607)

      Maybe they're firing all the people who bet their careers on the Cell?

    • by DrVomact (726065) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @10:35PM (#43552153) Journal

      and they're slashing workforce? wtf? Is this a sudden dive in quality or is the better tech being used to reduce the number of developers/artists needed? They guy that did the meshes for Metroid Prime spent a month on optimization for the final boss alone. That's not really needed when you've got 8 gigs of ram I suppose.

      Ah, young grasshoper, thou hast evidently not learned the subtleties of Scientific Management. Members of this group use a very special sort of language. That is, it's sort of a language, composed of technical terms (a.k.a. "jargon"). To quote TFA:

      In recent weeks, EA has aligned all elements of its organizational structure behind priorities in new technologies and mobile.

      The terms in bold are technical terms that thou might mistake for English. I shall translate them into normal English for thee, so you can fully understand that they are not English:

      • aligned: "to break"; ex: "Stalin aligned the party's thinking by killing every member who disagreed with him."
      • elements: people, but with the connotation of "objects", or perhaps "resources"; ex: "The Battle of Black Mountain was the outcome of a long series of injustices inflicted by the coal mine bosses on their elements".
      • organizational structure: A way to stupefy people until their collective intelligence is roughly equal to a cubic kilometer of crayfish, while making them believe it's the only way to get things done; alternate meaning: a sort of meat grinder; ex: Attila the Hun dominated by means of a very flat but effective organizational structure.
      • priorities: Anything that the elite of the organizational structure think is important; ex: "Chickens do not understand the farmer's priorities—until it's too late.
      • new technologies: vague; refers to anything considered by the heads of a power structure to be a priority; ex: "Well just keep promising them new technologies and raking in their money until they catch on".
      • mobile: They have a getaway strategy.

      By the way, I did not comprehend your references to "Metroid Prime" and "8 gigs". Perhaps I am missing one of your little jokes again, ha ha?

      • They plan to Zynga-fy their company.

        Pity that they are sitting on IP worth millions in competent hands, but those are the breaks. (And they've been sitting on lots of great IP for decades, so this isn't a new phenomenon.)

        Oh, as to treatment of employees... it seems I have to link to this at least once in any discussion of EA:

        A Cut Above [penny-arcade.com]

  • Not news worthy (Score:2, Informative)

    by BlueCoder (223005)

    This is nothing new and is how any business like this should work. Laying off people is normal and healthy unless your talking about 90% of a company. 10% is nothing. It's simply makes room to try new projects and people.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      A company firing 900 people in a single day isn't newsworthy? Seriously?

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      You don't "lay off" in order to recruit "new people". In many jurisdictions, you can't do that legally.

      Not that EA has ever cared about silly little things like employment laws.

      Incidentally, I work for a 10,000+ employ software company, and to my knowledge and belief, they have never "laid off" anyone, ever.

      I'd better tell management that consistent year on year growth - and regularly heading up the best companies to work for lists - is "abnormal" and "unhealthy". They're doing it wrong!

  • Not suprised (Score:4, Informative)

    by dcmcilrath (2859893) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @07:54PM (#43551257)

    Welcome to capitalism, If you do nothing but make shitty games and piss people off until you get voted worst company in America two years running, [consumerist.com] you are going to suffer losses, or go bankrupt. (Personally, I keep my fingers crossed)

    I do feel really bad for the people who work there though :(

  • Given how EA treats their own, "being free to pursue other opportunities" is not a euphemism for a layoff but a truthful declaration of freedom. This is probably the nicest thing that EA is willing to do for its own.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, EA, the best cost-cutting you could do would be to lose the DRM.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <(VortexCortex) ( ... -retrograde.com)> on Thursday April 25, 2013 @11:01PM (#43552295)

    Companies that gather their wealth by leveraging artificial scarcity (bits are in infinite supply) can easily slash their workforces and continue profiting by their infinite price hikes:
    if ( supply == infinity ) price = 0; // Regardless of cost to create.
    If price is greater than zero then the markup tends toward infinity.

    If instead the company was marketing something that is actually scarce -- it's ability to do work: configure the bits -- then their profit would be directly related to the capacity to perform work and create new content. Right now their profits are decoupled from the actual artists capable of creating works -- The people you want your money to go towards when you pay for the works. This system of publishing is flawed: By having no guarantee of even interest from the customers the publishers gamble with the fate of those making the works. If they make a great product one round, but stumble once, they are cut away as failures.

    All other labor markets do not use artificial scarcity. Artists can be commissioned to make works and they can rest secure in that their efforts have been funded. Mechanics and Home builders and all service industry employees get guarantees for their work in the form of employment contracts, the laws of the land ensure they will get paid for their work. The workers under a Publisher are actually guaranteed via employment contract, but the publisher itself has no assurance that the real customer will pay the price sufficient to keep producing works.

    Clearly the problem is copyright -- The enforcement of artificial scarcity. You don't own your work, the customer who paid for it does. Only by the economically untenable practice of enforcing copyright are the producers able to sell something that is in infinite supply (copies). It would be like selling ice to Eskimos, or sand to beach bums.

    Interestingly, crowd funding has come a long way towards cutting out the Publishers who seek to maximize profit far beyond the cost to create works. Instead you can ask the customers directly what works they would like to fund, and then do the work for the agreed upon price, then give the works to all the public for free (because they already paid to have it created). To the artists themselves this is no different than working under the Publisher. Sadly, greed prevents most of the independent developers who crowd-source funding from avoiding the artificial scarcity racket -- They fall to the same moronic methods that the Publishers do when they sell copies. The publishers must inflate price just to justify their own existence, but their practices do not need to exist. Instead, they could simply do more work to make more money -- get assurances from the customers for payment and make new things -- and never have to worry about being laid off again.

    I write this to inform any former EA employees (or anyone in their positions) that there is another way to make a living -- The way I do: You can have a solid future, but you must change your damn minds about copyrights. Market your ability to do work directly to the customers, like all others in labor markets do. If you can't manage to come to grips with the reality that selling Ice to Eskimos is a laughable business strategy for everyone involved, then at least unionize you fools! Crunch Time?! NO. That reeks of incompetent management, and abusive manipulation. It is no coincidence that the workers having the problems of instability, churn and abuse to this degree are also those that ultimately make profits by way of artificial scarcity...

    • All other labor markets do not use artificial scarcity. [...] The workers under a Publisher are actually guaranteed via employment contract, but the publisher itself has no assurance that the real customer will pay the price sufficient to keep producing works.

      "All other" is a strong word. Consider development of new drugs. There's no guarantee that a particular compound will survive clinical trials and gain regulatory approval.

      Sadly, greed prevents most of the independent developers who crowd-source funding from avoiding the artificial scarcity racket -- They fall to the same moronic methods that the Publishers do when they sell copies.

      And sometimes this greed is forced on developers. Some video game genres aren't really suitable for mobile because they're better with a gamepad than with a touch screen. The only well-known platforms that ship with a gamepad are consoles, which have no way for a developer to release a game free of digital restrictions management because i

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If you can't manage to come to grips with the reality that selling Ice to Eskimos is a laughable business strategy for everyone involved, then at least unionize you fools!

      The fool is the person who expects unionization in an industry in which there are dozens of resumes for every job. Remember when literally half the IT workers in the USA had no jobs? Yeah, unionization would have had to have happened before that. Remember when H1-B abuse began to be a significant thing? Yeah, unionization would have had to have happened before that, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 25, 2013 @11:17PM (#43552355)

    Baffles me...
    EA has a large number of studios all with different cultures, processes, and management. Given the size of the company there WILL be crappy work environments. Stories about these seem to get heavily magnified by the Internet lens. I've heard way worse things about other companies, but EA being one of the largest seems the easiest to hate.
    Secondly, how long do you fund a money losing team/studio. At some point you have to pull the plug. If it was your money in the game you would've had it out way sooner.
    Nonetheless mass layoffs are really shitty and I really feel for those devs since I'm sure some where great at their job.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      Baffles me...
      EA has a large number of studios all with different cultures, processes, and management. Given the size of the company there WILL be crappy work environments. Stories about these seem to get heavily magnified by the Internet lens. I've heard way worse things about other companies, but EA being one of the largest seems the easiest to hate.
      Secondly, how long do you fund a money losing team/studio. At some point you have to pull the plug. If it was your money in the game you would've had it out way sooner.
      Nonetheless mass layoffs are really shitty and I really feel for those devs since I'm sure some where great at their job.

      why don't you go play dragon age II. look, it's not the "given the size of the company" that gets them hate. it's their 17 year or so consistent run in buying studios and exactly 6 months later that studios output turns to _shit_. when they're purely publishing for someone else then it's not so bad, but if the game is a hit then they in a little while own the studio and the next product is again shit.

  • Because when I read "EA" and "slashing workforce" I half expected it to be about "the cubicle stabbings will continue until morale improves."

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Friday April 26, 2013 @08:32AM (#43554777)

    Yes, EA is a vile company that has made poor decisions over the years.

    But the comments here are typically one-sided commentary that match the /. state of mind.

    There are lots of people losing their jobs because of a few greedy idiot execs at the top. I wouldn't call the people getting laid off "bad rubbish" or throw out "good riddance". Often people get caught up a company and in spite of their best intentions, just cannot change a company culture. Sure, the writing has been on the wall at EA for a while, and it would be surprising if there was not a mass exodus of the left overs remaining at EA over the coming months, but its a shame when people have to lose their jobs because of poor management and bad executive decisions.

    Hopefully, like with so many other past layoffs at gaming companies, the victims of one company rise up and create a new company and hopefully don't repeat the mistakes of the past.

  • BALLBLAZER!

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