EA has laid off 350 of its employees this week. It has been highlighted that the timing of the decision is a little unfair considering that the GDC took place last week.
On the surface, it would seem that the gaming industry is thriving right now, and in many ways it is. Various developers and titles are breaking records in terms of revenue. However, the industry is changing without a doubt and, if you're not in keeping with those changes, you are at risk of falling behind. Clearly, in some cases, developers already have.
Companies have evidently been feeling the burn as Activision Blizzard and ArenaNet have both been forced to lay off employees recently, as well as the not-so-small matter of the bankruptcy and majority closure of TellTale Games in 2018. While EA's situation is nowhere near as bad as TellTale's, it has been revealed by Kotaku that the developer has let go of 350 employees this week.
According to the site, the employees let go are from the marketing and publishing departments, as well as some others that are unknown at this point. Most of those affected worked in EA's offices in Japan and Russia, which will reportedly be shut down entirely. In a statement regarding the move, EA CEO Andrew Wilson explained that its aim is to be the best games company in the world, and he isn't ashamed to admit it is not that right now.
Seems particularly cruel to lay off 350 people the week after GDC, which would have been a good time to hand out resumes.— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 26, 2019
While the thought of hundreds of people losing their jobs is always a horrible one, the timing of it is something that EA might well receive a lot of backlash for. The GDC took place last week and, as highlighted by Jason Schreier in the tweet above, had the affected employees known about their imminent release, they could have used the event to potentially find themselves new jobs.
Upon hearing that, higher-ups at EA may well claim that the decision was not made until this week. While that would be extremely hard to believe, others at the company have reported that a reshuffle of EA's staff has been on the cards for a while, maybe even as far back as October 2018. That same source from one of the affected departments also revealed that hiring and travel freezes have been in place for months at the company.