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New, significant layoffs hit Electronic Arts

UPDATED As Electronic Arts repositions itself to take on the changing video game landscape, the company has confirmed a fresh round of layoffs; sources claim hundreds affected.
As Electronic Arts repositions itself to take on the changing video game landscape -- and less than a month after CEO John Riccitiello announced his resignation -- the company has confirmed a fresh round of layoffs. A source who's close to developers who work for EA Mobile in Montreal (but not an EA employee) told Gamasutra about layoffs that happened this morning. The number of staff affected is unconfirmed by EA, but it's enough to cause a rumble in the Montreal development community. A separate Montreal-based source, citing direct contacts with EA Montreal developers, said 200-250 people were cut today, and all in-development projects have been shut down. "There will be a transition period for infrastructure, customer support, et cetera, until mid-June," the source said. "200-250 people cut today, the rest gradually." He added that while EA Montreal is technically still open for now, the wind-down will be "gradual," though eventually there will be a "complete shutdown." [UPDATE 1: EA told us that the layoff numbers from our sources are "too high," but could not confirm exactly what those numbers are. The company rep also said there are no shutdown plans for EA Montreal, and that "EA Montreal studio is not closing."] An EA corporate representative told Gamasutra that staff layoffs did in fact occur today, and that they were new, on top of the layoffs that were announced last month. "EA is sharpening its focus to provide games for new platforms and mobile," the statement read. "In some cases, this involves reducing team sizes as we evolve into a more efficient organization. "These are difficult decisions to let go of good people who have made important contributions to EA, and whenever possible we retrain or relocate employees to new roles. Streamlining our operations will help ensure EA is bringing the best next-generation games to players around the world." The rep did not confirm whether the layoffs were contained to mobile teams, or whether the layoffs only affected Montreal. One of our sources tell us that EA subsidiary BioWare Montreal is unaffected. [A Tweet from BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy confirmed this.] Layoffs hit EA Montreal earlier this year, but the company said it would reposition the remaining talent toward mobile games and new platforms. We will update as we get more details on this developing story. If you're able to shed any light on the topic, please email news at gamasutra dot com. [UPDATE 2: A Portuguese-language report cited Eduardo Moraes, marketing and sales manager of EA Digital in Brazil, who said the Sao Paulo studio is shuttering. The location focused on social and mobile games.]

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